How Did Jamison Bachman Legally Avoid Eviction For So Long?

Roommates can be a great way to keep ever-soaring rent payments down, but occasionally you wind up with a lousy roommate. A typical bad roommate leaves dirty dishes in the sink or eats your food without asking, but few bad roommates are on the level of Jamison Bachman.

According to Intelligencer, Bachman was a serial squatter. He repeatedly moved in with people using fake names and carefully concocted cover stories, before ultimately invading the original tenant's space and finally chasing them from their home. One of his greatest assets in taking over other people's homes was substantial knowledge when it came to real estate and rental laws. He also shifted his personality over time, starting as a pleasant, easy-to-live-with roommate before revealing himself as something of a sadistic con-man.

"He went from being this cordial, polite person who understood he was a guest in my house," one of his victims, Melissa Frost said, "to someone who was approaching me aggressively and flat-out saying, 'This is my house now.'"

Bachman's early life

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bachman (above) was from Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, not far from Philadelphia. He graduated from Cheltenham High School in the mid-1970s and according to people who knew him around that time he was a pretty normal guy, described as smart, charming, and good-looking.

It looked like Bachman was destined for a bright future when he started attending school at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, but something happened that caused a change in him: He witnessed a murder.

According to Shreveport, Louisiana's The Times, a 20-year-old rugby player named Ken Gutzeit, a friend of Bachman's from Pennsylvania, died after being stabbed in the neck in front of a fraternity house in New Orleans

Someone who knew Bachman at the time said in an episode of the Netflix documentary series "The Worst Roommate Ever" that the incident ​​was "the kind of traumatic, life-changing event that changes your whole worldview." While the experience can't be blamed for Bachman's future transgressions, it certainly didn't help matters.

Bachman received his legal training later in life

According to Intelligencer, Bachman frequently made up stories about why he needed a place to stay, and these stories were intended to either garner sympathy or put his victim's mind at ease. Some of these stories involved Bachman claiming to be a lawyer. This was technically a lie, but it wasn't very far from the truth.

Bachman really did have a law degree, though he only received it when he was in his mid-40s. He had a master's degree in history from Georgetown University and a law degree from the University of Miami. He was by all accounts a good student and a professor at Georgetown wrote him a glowing letter of recommendation that said, "In 20 years of university teaching, I have encountered very few people of his caliber."

So, while Bachman did have some legal training and used that knowledge to intimidate by issuing threats laden with often dense legal jargon, he often claimed to have worked as a lawyer all around the world. This is the part that was a complete fabrication, as he failed the bar exam in 2003 and never made another attempt at passing it.

Bachman's strange ways terrified his victims

Bachman had a penchant for bizarre behavior, a lot of which made his victims feel like they were up against a man who could quickly become unhinged. According to Intelligencer, these habits ranged from the peculiar — like clogging toilets with cat litter, which he did more than once — to the down-right frightening and violent.

Bachman had started living in an apartment with a 31-year-old woman named Alex Miller in 2017. Bachman had shown up after responding to a Craigslist ad and was using the alias Jed Creek. As was typical for just about all of his squatting attempts, things started fine, and his initial $800 rent check cleared (via Radio Times).

From there, things got progressively worse as Bachman started taking things from around the apartment and claiming they were his, and when Miller approached him the next month for his rent money, he offered excuses that were frivolous but worded in an intimidating, legally dense ways. One instance involved him finding a cigarette butt in the toilet which prompted him to tell Miller, a paralegal herself, "you should know about the warranty of habitability," via text message.

Bachman made himself at home

If ever there was someone who took the mantra "fake it 'till you make it" to heart, it was Jamison Bachman. When he moved in with Miller, Bachman brought along his dog, Zachary. Miller knew this would be happening, and he brought the dog along on his first visit so that it could meet Miller's dog. However, when he showed up he also had a cat in tow, which Miller had not been told about and to which she was allergic (via Intelligencer).

Bachman frequently moved in with someone and quickly tried to assert dominance in strange, often insignificant ways. He stole lightbulbs from around the apartment and when Miller realized her kitchen chairs weren't where they were supposed to be — i.e. in the kitchen — she checked in Bachman's room and found that he had taken them and fashioned them into a makeshift desk.

A particularly unusual point of contention with one roommate occurred when Bachman repeatedly kicked a bath mat out of the way every single time he used the bathroom. He continued to do this even after being asked not to until the other roommate taped it to the floor, and just in case Bachman continued his weird attempts at asserting dominance, he left a note under the bathmat that simply said, "Why?"

Eviction was difficult because Bachman made it that way

For Bachman's victims, getting the serial squatter out of their homes was exceedingly difficult. According to Intelligencer, if one of Bachman's victims tried to get him evicted through traditional legal channels, he muddied the waters by firing back accusations of his own.

In 2015, Bachman went to court against a South Carolina realtor named Jill Weatherford who owned an apartment that Bachman had coerced the tenants into taking him in. He put together a list of the landlord's tenants and accused her of being a slum lord, despite having never met Weatherford. "I said, 'I've never met this man in my life,'" Weatherford said in a 2018 piece from New York Magazine. "I've been doing this for 33 years and never seen anything like it."

Fortunately, these attempts rarely worked, but they still caused enough headaches and trauma for his victims. During one such attempt at smearing a victim in court, a Philadelphia judge countered Bachman's claims by saying, "I find you to be totally incredible. I don't believe a word you say — and, frankly, you're frightening."