The Davison County Commission released the burden of a $45,000 lien from one of Mitchell’s most maligned houses on Tuesday, following a case that started with a fire and led to an attempted murder charge.
The commission released its lien for Dawn Long’s court-appointed attorney’s fees that was applied to the house — located at 800 E. Seventh Ave. — at the center of her case. Her former husband, Todd Long, is attempting to get rid of the house, but the lien was applied before their divorce was final and when the ownership of the house was shared. Dawn Long is currently in prison, serving a six-year sentence for aggravated assault.
“She burned down the house. She tried to kill him. He owns the house as the result of their divorce, but the county lien attaches to the real estate that she owned before they got that separated,” Davison County Deputy State’s Attorney Jim Taylor said.
Taylor said the house still looks “relatively decent” from the outside, but is “shot on the inside.” He said attempts to donate it to area nonprofits that might be interested have gone nowhere. Taylor made it clear to the commission that Dawn Long would still be responsible for the lien, even with the board’s action.
“Dawn Long still owes the county $45,000,” he said. “(The lien) attaches to anything she has an ownership stake in.”
Zach Flood, who is one of the county’s court-appointed attorneys but was not involved in Long’s criminal defense, estimated the lien is about $45,000. Flood said it might get paid someday by Dawn Long, but her former husband should not be saddled with the burden of that lien.
“He just wants to get rid of it,” Flood said of Todd Long’s plans. “Basically nothing can happen as long as this lien is involved.”
Flood said the highest bid for the home currently is “less than five digits,” or $10,000.
Dawn Long was sentenced to 15 years in prison in April, with nine years suspended, after she pleaded no contest to aggravated assault in February. In October 2015, she was first indicted on one count of reckless burning, when law enforcement had suspicions that she had set her family’s home on fire, and then led police on a pursuit that ended with a crash over a cliff at Badlands National Park.
In July 2016, Long was charged with attempted first-degree murder in connection to an incident in which she put caffeine pills in rum consumed by Todd Long in October 2015, which led to his hospitalization.
Long had maintained not guilty pleas to both charges until her change of plea hearing in February, and at the time, the state dismissed the remainder of her charges.
Without the county’s action Tuesday, Taylor said, Davison County could have ended up owning the house on tax deed proceedings if real estate taxes go unpaid and would have to pay to tear it down. County Commissioners Denny Kiner and Brenda Bode agreed the county doesn’t want to end up owning the land.
“We don’t want to own it. That’s a given,” Bode said.
“The county is doing the right thing today,” Taylor later added.