BOULDER, Colo. A couple targeted by protesters after a judge awarded them part of their neighbors' land in an adverse-possession case explained themselves in a letter to friends.
Richard McLean and Edith Stevens have told reporters they would not comment publicly about the case because their neighbors Don and Susie Kirlin have said they plan to appeal the judge's decision.
In Colorado, adverse-possession law allows someone to gain possession of property after using it unchallenged for 18 years. A judge in October granted part of the Kirlins' land to McLean and Stevens, who said they had been using it to access their back yard for 25 years.
The Kirlins have said the award amounted to about a third of the disputed lot on which they planned to build their dream home.
But in a letter to friends, McLean and Stevens said the Kirlins never intended to build a dream home there, that the land in question is 11 percent of the Kirlins' total land, and that the Kirlins could still build a dream home on land they still own, the Camera reported in Sunday editions.
The newspaper said it obtained a copy of the letter from a recipient who wished to remain anonymous.
Stevens told the Camera the letter was meant to be private. In the letter, McLean and Stevens asked recipients not to release its contents to the media.
McLean and Stevens said in the letter that they never trespassed on the Kirlins' property, they did not make the claim of adverse possession to protect a scenic view, and they did not use any connections within the court system to help their case, the Camera reported.
McLean is a former judge, and Stevens is an attorney.
"The trial was fair," the letter states. "We retired from the legal world long before the trial. We had never met the trial judge, who was appointed by Gov. Owens in the last year or two. ... The Kirlins lost and are, understandably, upset about losing, but they still have legal avenues to pursue that do not involve creating a media frenzy.
"We still hope that we can reconcile our differences with the Kirlins and restore peace in our neighborhood and community," McLean and Stevens wrote in their letter.
Susie Kirlin said she disagreed with nearly all the points made in the letter.