Denver Housing Authority allows evicted mother of murder victim to return home

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DENVER -- Just days after a woman was murdered, the Denver Housing Authority evicted the victim’s mother and son from their home. Now, according to a report, the DHA is saying it has found a way to allow the mother to return to the residence.

Family members said Sandy Roskilly, 47, lived in the house in Irving Street with her 70-year-old mother, Doris Kessler, and 18-year-old autistic son, Gregory Roskilly, for more than 15 years.

The Denver Housing Authority evicted them on Aug. 19, less than 72 hours after Roskilly was murdered. On top of that, the family said they had just a few hours to get their belongings out of the house before the Housing Authority put a lock on the door to make sure they can’t get back in.

The Housing Authority said a day later the eviction was forced as a result of federal rules. Roskilly was named as the head of the household in the federally-subsidized residence, and Kessler was not on the lease due to the fact that she was a live-in aid.

The Federal Housing Authority later rebutted that report from Denver, telling the Associated Press the federal regulations cited by local officials are not set in stone.

“We would hope people would use compassion," Housing and Urban Development spokesman Jerry Brown told the AP. "They (the DHA) have discretion, which is why the city has a board to administer it. There was no notification on our end of an eviction, and we didn’t have a say in it."

Since Roskilly died without a will, the housing authority said the residence initially had to be locked until a public administrator determined a rightful inheritor. According to a report from the Associated Press, that decision was made on Tuesday. With that being the case, Kessler was expected to be able to move back into the residence on Wednesday, according to the report.

Though the situation appears to have been resolved, the family had difficulty understanding why the rules couldn’t be put on hold considering the circumstances.

Roskilly was an innocent bystander on her porch on Aug. 16, when police say her neighbor, 31-year-old Daniel Abyeta, went on a shooting rampage. Roskilly was killed, Abeyta’s wife was injured and Abeyta tried to blow up a propane tank in the street before he was shot and wounded by police.

“We haven’t processed that Sandy’s gone yet,” Campbell said, shortly after Kessler was evicted. “She (Kessler) had to drive down to tell her grandson that his mother was murdered and she’s getting destroyed again by our own government. It’s not fair.”

While Campbell said Roskilly's son lived at the residence, the housing authority told the Associated Press that Gregory is under state care at a facility in Pueblo, and has only a been a frequent visitor at his mother's residence for the past year.