Famed attraction restored back to rightful owner

Legal battle over Bishop Castle ended

RYE, Colo. - A famous Colorado landmark is no longer the center of a legal battle.

A judge ruled in favor of Jim Bishop, who built Bishop Castle by hand.

The castle will be put back into the Bishop's name and David Merrill is not allowed to have anything to do with it.

"I'm so excited, if you lit me with a match I would explode!" Phoebe Bishop, Jim's wife, said.

The ruling came after a lengthy legal battle.

The Bishops said Merrill tricked them into turning over the deed when Jim became ill.

"We were at our worst, our most vulnerable, and David Merrill said he would be a trustee and help us with the paperwork," Phoebe said. "Next thing we know, he won't let us do anything with the castle and he's claiming it is his, trying to turn it into a church."

The Bishops took legal action when Merrill started making changes to the landmark.

But it wasn't an easy process.  The venue was changed from Custer County to El Paso County.  Merrill filed his own lawsuits.

That's why the family almost didn't believe the news when they heard from their lawyer.

"She texted me and said, 'We won everything!' and I had to read it three times," Phoebe said.

Her daughter, Donita Bishop, was cautiously optimistic at first.

"I thought it would never end, that we would always be in court," she said.

The paperwork still has to be filed in Custer County before the castle is officially back in the Bishop's name.

The first thing the Bishops will do when it is?  They plan on signing over the castle to their son.

"Our daughters will also be in charge so that way the whole family has to give their input before any decision is made," Phoebe said.

"It never should have left our family and now it will always stay in our family," Donita said.

The battle may be over but the family still has around $20,000 in legal fees to pay off. 

There will be a think tank meeting on Friday, Oct. 2, at 6 p.m. at the Pikes Peak Harley Davidson to brainstorm how to raise funds for the family.

David Merrill did not respond to our messages requesting an interview or comment.

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