Originally created 04/09/00

Inmate's father to keep home



The local prosecutor has agreed not to seize an elderly Augusta man's property if he ensures that his quadriplegic son will keep marijuana and friends off the premises.

In a consent order signed last month, Lewis Covar Sr. agreed to abide by the district attorney's terms in order to save the Fernwood Circle home he bought for his son Lewis Covar Jr., paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a July 4, 1967, diving accident.

"I guess it's all taken care of now," the elder Mr. Covar said. "No news is good news, they say."

District Attorney Danny Craig filed a forfeiture action to seize the $53,200 house last month, contending Mr. Covar's son used the home to facilitate the possession and sale of marijuana and Valium.

The younger Mr. Covar, 51, who faces an April 17 trial in Richmond County Superior Court, was arrested Jan. 25 on a charge of possession of marijuana. It was his fourth felony-level marijuana arrest, and it led to the revocation of a seven-year probation sentence he was serving.

Mr. Covar Jr. contends he smokes marijuana to ease painful muscle spasms, preferring it to physician-prescribed Valium, which he says leaves him mentally incapacitated.

Since his imprisonment in February he has undergone four surgeries for the treatment of sores, Mr. Covar's father said.

"He's such a mess now," said the 76-year-old man, who had taken care of his son's medical and personal needs until the son was sent to prison.

Mr. Craig said he believes the consent agreement worked out with the father will solve his and the community's problems, allowing Mr. Covar to keep the house and prevent his son from using or dealing in illegal drugs.

"At no time has owner, Lewis Edward Covar Sr., engaged in the distribution of marijuana or conspired to engage in the distribution of marijuana," the order signed by Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. reads. "The court finds that unusual circumstances exist to invoke the equity jurisdiction of the court to prevent future use of the property to facilitate violations of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act ... and to recognize the lack of an alternative remedy by the owner, Lewis Edward Covar Sr."

Under the agreement, Mr. Covar's son can live in the house when freed from prison, so long as no one but immediate family members, emergency medical personnel, one care giver, maintenance personnel, cleaning staff or clergy enters the house. Anyone else must obtain Mr. Craig's written permission.

The younger Mr. Covar is also barred from possessing marijuana or any drug not prescribed by a physician.

The agreement also holds the elder Mr. Covar responsible for his son's behavior and makes it his responsibility to evict his son if the conditions of the agreement are violated.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226.