Crime & Courts

Moorish National squatter convicted of taking over house in Charlotte’s Piper Glen

dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Ninti el Bey, a self-described Moorish National who led a three-month squatters’ siege in Piper Glen, was convicted Tuesday night of trespassing and other crimes after a trial in which she mustered her own defense.

District Judge Donnie Hoover found Bey guilty of six of the charges lodged against her after she and up to eight other adults and children took up residence last summer in a 5,200-square-foot vacant home in one of south Charlotte’s finest neighborhoods.

Hoover found Bey guilty of first- and second-degree trespassing, breaking and entering and several vehicle-registration offenses. The judge found her not guilty of driving with a revoked license.

He sentenced her to 45 days in jail, but suspended the sentence if Bey can complete 12 months of supervised probation and 48 hours of community service. She also was ordered to pay court costs and not return to the gray-stucco home on Kelly Woods Lane that she called her own from August to mid-November. That house, according to Jerry Miller, attorney for the neighborhood homeowners association, is on the verge of being sold.

According to neighbors and Piper Glen community leaders, Bey, her children and a group of other adults appeared out of nowhere at the four-bedroom, five-bath house valued at more than $800,000. Over the ensuing weeks, she defied or threatened Realtors, the homeowners association, her neighbors and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

Bey and her companions were evicted twice, and she was arrested on two occasions. But she always found her way back into the home that was owned by a New York bank and on the market for sale. She also filed a series of court documents and legal complaints that claimed she was being harassed by the neighborhood and police. She claimed that she was part of an Indigenous Trust that had rented the home for $1. The name she gave for her landlord appears to have belonged to a Hungarian porn star.

Experts say North Carolina is a hot spot for similar activity by an offshoot of the religious group Moorish Nation. The splinter group doesn’t recognize federal, state and local laws and takes an exceptionally broad view of their rights to other people’s property.

In recent months, the stakes over the group’s so-called indigenous rights have escalated. In late October, a murder defendant, who claims to be a Moorish National, sparred with a judge during his plea hearing over the court’s legal authority to charge him.

Later this month, a Charlotte man and Moorish National charged with the fatal beating of his infant daughter plans to represent himself at his murder trial.

Michael Gordon: 704-358-5095, @MikeGordonOBS

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