How could a disagreement over land go so far..?


Mel and Elizabeth Grimes’ home in Carmel Valley, California was a hillside haven. That is until John Franklin Kenney moved in next door and a full-on feud erupted.

There were accusations back and forth between the laid-back Grimeses and uptight former paratrooper Kenney. He accused the couple of dumping waste on their property, allowing their dogs to defecate on his lawn and making illegal renovations to their home.

In turn, the Grimeses accused Kenney of harassing them, photographing them and even attempting to poison their pets. The dispute wound up before a judge in 2005, who declared it a civil matter but advised that the neighbours avoid each other.

But there was one area that neither party could let go – a 10ft by 4ft patch of land that belonged to Kenney but that the Grimeses had to cross to get to their garage. And, one day in January 2007, Kenney blocked off this access with a large boulder.

When the Grimeses returned home to discover this, Mel was furious, and grabbed a sledgehammer, intending to smash the rock. Spotting this, Kenney approached with a gun tucked in his belt.

What happened next would be played in the courtroom where Kenney stood trial for killing his neighbours.

‘He’s got a gun!’ Elizabeth is heard to call to her husband, before the sound of gunshots ring out. The pair were heard professing their love for each other.

Mel died at the scene, Elizabeth passed away before she reached hospital.

In September 2008, John Kenney, 77, was convicted of the first-degree murder of Elizabeth, 55, and second-degree murder of Mel, 58. Given a life sentence, he will die behind bars.