Haunted House?

In this week's paper version of Unfair Park, we wrote about Preservation Dallas' just-released list of Dallas 11 most-endangered properties. Well, at the top of the troubled list is the Thomas and Mary Shiels House at 4602 Reiger Ave.: It's 100 years old, on the National Register of Historic Places and notable because its original owner, Thomas Shiels, was a prominent local businessman whose 1925 funeral was enormous. And the way he died is worth noting: He killed himself when a shotgun he was checking out before a hunting trip accidentally went off in his face. Well, an old-neighborhood-lovin'-and-livin' Friend of Unfair Park points out that nearly 100 years after Sheils' fatal shotgun blast, another person was killed at the very same location with pretty much the same weapon:

"For such a marvelous structure, 4602 Reiger has an equally sad history. Thomas Sheils was not the only person to meet his maker on the wrong end of shotgun at that address. Back in 1999, the newly married Robert Sanchez moved into that house with his wife and kids. I think Sanchez was a carpenter and he was well on his way to restoring the home. But seven years ago, lower Reiger was even sketchier than it is now. That had Sanchez a bit freaked out. One night he heard a noise outside and grabbed his shotgun. Some guy was making a bunch of noise poking around an old refrigerator he'd left out on the sidewalk for big trash day. Sanchez fired the shotgun from a second story window and killed an unarmed homeless man who was just stripping the fridge of its copper tubing.

Sanchez was convicted of negligent homicide, which would normally get him two years in state jail. But because he used the shotgun, the charge was aggravated which exposed him to even more time, up to 10 years in the pen. But Sanchez had a great defense lawyer and ended up getting probation. Sanchez then sells the house and it ends up in the hands of the mysterious Felinda Jarmon who can not be found anywhere (many people have tried). And the house, which could have been restored a long time ago, continues to rot. All because of a shotgun."

Indeed, all that is very true: Court documents and police accounts accessed yesterday reveal that Sanchez, who was 38 at the time, was arrested November 15, 1999, for shooting a 50-year-old homeless man named William McKinley Long, who had numerous on drug- and alcohol-related arrests to his credit. Long died November 16, and Sanchez went to trial in June 2000. Sanchez's attorney claimed the family felt like prisoners in their own home, according to a story from The Dallas Morning News; hence, the need for the shotgun that blasted a hole in everyone's lives at 4612 Reiger. Again. --Robert Wilonsky

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