Killing home had reputation as ‘party house’
June 24, 2005
GARDNERVILLE RANCHOS – Neighbors of 1294 Zinfandel Drive said it had a reputation as a “party house” that didn’t fit the character of their street of manicured lawns and kids on scooters.
The duplex was the scene of a fight early Friday that ended in the death of Jeffery Clayton John, 24, of Markleeville. Six people were taken into custody, three charged with principal or accessory to murder.
“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 the last 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’s 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.”
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Robinson said most of the neighbors had families.
“This is just a family neighborhood. There’s nothing but children around here,” he said.
Jimmie Richardson, 58, who lives in the adjoining duplex, said the street was quiet until her neighbors moved in last summer.
“It’s always noisy,” she said. “My husband would have to go over there and ask them to turn the music down. They would until we would go back to sleep.”
Richardson said she took a sleeping pill at 10 p.m. Thursday and went to bed. But she said the noise next door 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 for work Friday.
“It makes me scared,” she said.
Sherry Jacobson, 52, and Eric Mason, 29, who live across the street, were up talking early Friday and decided to go out for a pack of cigarettes.
Mason said he heard loud music, arguing and glass breaking at the duplex.
“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 her porch with her son Sean, 21. “This is pretty upsetting. It makes you frightened.”
Jacobson said she’d seen a lot of traffic in and out of the house where the incident took place, but she generally avoided eye contact with its occupants.
“I just ignored them,” she said.
The victim’s body was found early Friday in a yard about a half block away. The six people taken into custody are being held without bail in Douglas County Jail.
Sheriff Ron Pierini said investigators believed all the suspects were in custody.
“That’s the most important thing,” he said. “There is nobody outstanding.”
n Sheila Gardner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 214.
You Can Help
WHAT: The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is looking for information about an altercation Friday at 1294 Zinfandel Drive, Gardnerville Ranchos.
CALL: Investigator Phil Lesquereux at 782-9927 or Secret Witness at 782-7463.