CASTLE ROCK (CBS4) – The trial of a man accused of taking over a home he did not own got started on Wednesday and is expected to wrap up on Thursday in Douglas County.

Gonzolo Perez insists he had a right to be in the house under laws of adverse possession in which an individual can claim right to a property if it’s been abandoned for several years, but the case goes beyond that.

Sheriff’s deputies removed Perez and his family’s belongings from a Larkspur home last year. He’s now on trial accused of trespassing and using false documents in order to live in the home.

Perez claims he had legal permission to be in the house which a relative bought for $10. Prosecutors claim it really belonged to Nathan Calkin and his wife Cindy who were divorcing and moved out.

Real estate broker Mark Sawyer told the court he was hired by the Calkins to do a short sale on the house while it was under foreclosure. He testified that Perez and his brother-in-law “broke into property that wasn’t theirs and they damaged my client, they damaged me.”

“These people claimed that they owned the property,” Sawyer said. “Absolutely not.”

A Douglas County deputy testified that Perez had notarized paperwork that indicated his brother-in-law Sergio Hernandez owned the house and had given him permission to live there.

Hernandez is charged in another case involving a million dollar Castle Rock home that he was evicted from. They are just some of the dozens of houses CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger discovered that were taken over by a group claiming to have rights to abandoned homes under the laws of adverse possession.

At the trial on Wednesday a recess was called when Nathan Calkin, who claims he legally owned the house, tried to hold back tears when talking about the emotional impact on him and his family.


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