Man found dead after fight in Gardnerville Ranchos
June 24, 2005
GARDNERVILLE – A 24-year-old Markleeville man was killed early Friday and six men were taken into custody in connection with a brawl at a duplex in the Gardnerville Ranchos.
The victim was identified as Jeffrey Clayton John. His body was found in a yard near the intersection of Tillman Lane and Zinfandel Drive, according to Undersheriff Bob Rudnick.
“There was a gathering at the residence on Zinfandel which included several people,” said Rudnick said. “About 1 a.m., there was a physical altercation inside the house that eventually went outside, down the sidewalk and across the street. The decedent was injured to the point where he lost his life.”
A cause of death and a motive for the slaying were not disclosed pending the results of an autopsy and toxicology reports.
“We don’t know what provoked it,” Rudnick said. “We’ve conducted a lot of interviews and still are talking to people. At this point, the investigation is ongoing.”
Arrested and held in Douglas County Jail without bail were:
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n Michael Ward, 21, Gardnerville, charged with principal to murder;
n Enrique Garcia, 20, Gardnerville, principal to murder;
n Jason Wellington, 21, Gardnerville, accessory to murder.
Garcia lived at the residence.
They are set to appear at a hearing Monday in East Fork Justice Court.
Immigration holds – but no criminal charges – were placed on three men at the residence.
They are Antonio Garcia-Garcia, 25; Cesar Pacheo-Castendia, 21 and Artemio Perez-Solis, 24.
Jimmie Richardson, 58, who lives in the adjoining duplex, said she woke up early Friday to hear officers in her back yard.
Richardson said she took a sleeping pill at 10 p.m. Thursday and went to bed. But she said noise from the Garcia residence kept waking her up.
“I woke up at 1:15 a.m. and heard a policeman coming over my fence, yelling ‘Don’t run or I’ll shoot’ to somebody.”
Richardson said her husband, David, was reluctant to leave Friday to go to work.
“It makes me scared,” she said.
Richardson and other neighbors said the residence at 1294 Zinfandel had the reputation of a “party house” that didn’t fit the character of their street of manicured lawns and kids on scooters.
“It’s always noisy,” Richardson said. “My husband would have to go over there and ask them to turn the music down.”
“I’ve seen a lot of people come in and out of there,” said Ken Cartwright, 70, who has shared a home four doors down with his sister, Nancy, 73, for eight years.
“I came out to get the paper this morning and I saw all these squad cars,” Cartwright said Friday. “We’re not used to waking up to this.”
Josh Robinson, 27, who has lived in the neighborhood for three years, said occupants seemed to be moving in and out of the duplex.
“I knew the house was trouble already,” he said. “It was just the wrong mix of people. There was lots of fighting.”
Standing in the street in 80-degree weather Friday morning as onlookers gathered in small groups and curious boys zipped by on scooters, Robinson said most of the neighbors had families.
“This is just a family neighborhood. There’s nothing but children around here,” Robinson said,
Sherry Jacobson, 52, and Eric Mason, 29, who live across the street, were up at 1 a.m. Friday and decided to go out for a pack of cigarettes.
Mason said he heard loud music, arguing and glass breaking at the Garcia home.
“First I heard something that sounded like a beer bottle breaking. Then it sounded like a bigger object – like a vase – broke. We left about 1 a.m. to get cigarettes and when we came back, the cops were all over the place,” he said.
Mason said he videotaped the investigation until deputies asked him to stop.
“This is pretty much a family neighborhood,” Jacobson said sitting on the porch with her son, Sean, 21. “This is pretty upsetting. It makes you frightened.”
n Contact reporter Sheila Gardner at email@example.com or 782-5121, ext. 214.