Relative: Spat began Ky. rampage that killed 6
JACKSON, Ky. (AP) – A man facing eviction over his hostile temper became enraged by how his wife cooked his eggs and killed her, his stepdaughter and three neighbors with a shotgun before shooting himself on Saturday.
Trooper Jody Sims of the Kentucky State Police said 47-year-old Stanley Neace killed the five people in two mobile homes in rural eastern Kentucky around 11:30 a.m., then went to his home and turned the gun on himself.
Neighbors in the roadside mobile home park said Neace stormed across the lawns of about seven homes in his pajamas and fired dozens of shots from a 12-gauge pump shotgun.
Sims said that when state police arrived about an hour after the gunfire began, they heard a single gunshot and found Neace’s body on the porch in the unincorporated community of Mount Carmel in Breathitt County. The county is home to about 16,000 people.
Sherri Anne Robinson, a relative of two of the victims, said witnesses to the shootings told her that Neace became enraged when his wife did not cook his breakfast to his liking.
Robinson said that when his wife fled to a neighbor’s trailer, Neace followed and shot her and the others. Robinson says he allowed a young girl to flee.
“He just got mad at his wife for not making his breakfast right and he shot her,” Robinson said. “She tried to run to tell my family and he shot them, too, because they found out about it.”
The victims were identified as the gunman’s wife, Sandra Neace, 54; her daughter Sandra R. Strong, 28; and neighbors Dennis Turner, 31; Teresa Fugate, 30; and Tammy Kilborn, 40.
The names of the victims were provided by Kentucky State Police, while Robinson described their relationships. Fugate is Robinson’s sister, Turner is her cousin and Kilborn was a witness who happened to step onto the porch of another trailer when she heard the commotion.
Robinson said Fugate was shot in front of her 7-year-old daughter.
“Her daughter said, ‘Please, please don’t shoot me,’ and he said, ‘All right, you can leave,’ and she ran out,” said Robinson, who spoke to her niece after the shootings. “She went and told her neighbors, and the neighbors called the law.”
Robinson says Neace had never appeared threatening to her, but that he was known to have a violent history. Sims could not confirm that Neace had a criminal record.
County prosecutor Brendon Miller said his dealings with Neace came on nonviolent issues involving child support. Neace also was in Miller’s office a month ago regarding a traffic ticket.
Authorities started receiving calls from concerned neighbors around 11:30 in the roadside mobile home park outside Jackson, about 90 miles southeast of Lexington. Sims said when they arrived about an hour later, they heard a single gunshot, then found Neace’s body on his porch.
They found victims in two other trailers. Other neighbors fled the trailer park in fear for their lives during the shootings.
“Over eggs?” Robinson said. “I thought that was crazy. Really. I mean just because his eggs weren’t hot?”
Landlord Ray Rastegar said Neace received monthly disability checks from the Social Security Administration, though he didn’t know what his disability was. Rastegar said he had begun the process of evicting Neace, who had lived in the trailer park for about seven years, because he had become increasingly hostile toward neighbors in recent months.
“He was unpredictable,” Rastegar said. “Little things would set him off.”
Neighbor Steve Smith saw the rampage from the window of his mobile home. When he walked outside, Smith said Neace took a shot at him but missed.
“He chased his wife around that Jeep shooting at her,” Smith said, pointing to a shot-up SUV parked outside his mobile home. “I heard her screaming and running.”
Smith said Neace ended up mumbling to himself on the porch of his trailer, pointed the shotgun at his head and pulled the trigger.
“He’s been trouble ever since he’s been here,” Smith said. “He’s always been trouble.”