NBC‘s newsmagazine Dateline had a powerful report Monday about a neighborhood feud in Carmel Valley, Calif., that left two people dead and another in prison for life.
It illustrated how seemingly trivial disputes can turn deadly. In this case, a fight over a four-foot patch of dirt along a shared driveway between next-door neighbors turned deadly.
It was shocking.
The show explained how, on Jan. 29, 2007, defense attorney Mel Grimes Jr., and his para-legal wife, Elizabeth, were shot to death in their driveway by their neighbor, John “Jack” Kenney, a 72-year-old petroleum engineer. Here are photos from Dateline’s Web site:
Mel and Elizabeth Grimes
John “Jack” Kenney
The flashpoint for the killings? Kenney placed a one-ton boulder on the strip of land to block the Grimes’ access to their carport.
The photo, left, shows the boulder placed behind the Grimes’ van and carport. The Grimes’ house is visible above the carport area.
The Grimes came home from work to find the boulder and Grimes immediately started trying to smash it with a sledge hammer. Kenney came out and confronted the couple with a gun, shooting each twice, then firing a third shot into Elizabeth Grimes’ back. Both died.
At trial in 2008, Kenney claimed self defense. But prosecutors refuted his claim that he was attacked by playing the a chilling tape of a 9-1-1 call made by Elizabeth Grimes as the couple came home and found their carport blocked.
The entire confrontation was captured on tape and the couple is heard being shot to death, even telling each other “I love you” with their dying breaths.
Kenney was convicted of first-degree murder in Elizabeth Grimes’ death and second-degree murder for Mel Grimes’ killing. He is appealing his conviction.
Kenney, under arrest
It’s a sobering story that shows how educated, successful people can allow their pride or controlling natures to drag them into ugly disputes over seemingly minor matters like driveway access.
And in this case, it led to murder. It’s a story that everyone in a dispute with their neighbors should watch or read.