Murder in Marin
by Seth Hemmelgarn
A Marin County man has been accused of shooting to death his roommate's lover at the waterfront campground resort where the three shared a trailer.
The Marin County District Attorney's office has charged Ken Patrick Neville, 56, of Dillon Beach, with the murder of Stachaun Tyking Jackson, 19.
People who knew Neville and the other man, who's 53 and whose name was not released by authorities, indicated the older two mostly kept to themselves, but described Jackson as friendly.
The Marin Independent-Journal identified the other man as Eric Wayne Gillespie. The paper said Gillespie, Neville's roommate, committed suicide over the weekend. Citing a sheriff's detective's report, the paper also said that just before last Thursday's shooting, Jackson had refused to leave the trailer when Neville and Gillespie wanted him to and had broken in "through a window."
After "one of the men called 911, Jackson allegedly threatened them," ordering them to cancel the 911 call, the paper reported. Neville said he eventually pointed a gun at Jackson, who was by then unarmed, and told him to leave, but Jackson "lunged at him," and Neville "fired his gun," the paper said. "Gillespie told investigators he did not actually see the shooting but heard the gunshot."
In response to emailed questions about the suicide and the detective's report Wednesday, Lieutenant Jamie Scardina, an investigator with the Marin County Sheriff's office, said, "I still have not released the name of [Neville's roommate] due to domestic violence laws and confidentiality reasons. I cannot comment because the death did not occur in our jurisdiction and it is not our investigation." Scardina confirmed details from the detective's report included in the Independent-Journal and said a knife had been found at the scene.
It was unclear where Gillespie died; officials at eight county coroner offices contacted by the Bay Area Reporter did not have his body.
In an interview earlier this week, Scardina said that the older men, who lived in a trailer at Lawson's Landing resort full time, reported the incident at 2:30 a.m. Thursday, March 20.
"They said there had been a disturbance at the trailer, and somebody had been shot, and they asked for paramedics and law enforcement to respond," said Scardina.
Jackson was dead on the trailer's deck, with a gunshot wound to his torso, when authorities arrived, said Scardina.
Both of the older men were initially detained, but only Neville was arrested Thursday, while Gillespie was released.
Scardina said the "disturbance" involved a fight, but he wouldn't say how it had started or what had happened during the fight.
Neighbors "did not report the gunshot," but they heard "arguing," he said. The other campground residents "didn't have the exact wording of what they heard. They had heard disputes in the past coming from that trailer, so it certainly wasn't anything new they were hearing the night of the homicide," he said.
Asked whether Neville had confessed to the crime, Scardina said, "I'm not going to disclose at this time what his statement was," and he also wouldn't say whether Neville had given any indication he'd shot Jackson in self-defense.
He said investigators found two revolvers belonging to Gillespie at the trailer, and they think one of them was used to kill Jackson. The DA's complaint lists the weapon used as a .38 caliber Special Smith and Wesson revolver.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Barry Borden said Neville didn't enter a plea at his court date in Marin County Superior Court Tuesday morning, and at Neville's request, the case was continued to April 8 for further arraignment, entry of plea, and discussion of bail.
Neville is in custody on a "no bail" hold, meaning he can't bail out, said Borden.
The public defenders who Borden said are involved with the case didn't respond to interview requests Tuesday.
Unclear relationship, recent problems
It isn't clear what the men's relationships with each other were, but there had been problems at the trailer in recent months, according to Scardina.
Gillespie and Jackson had been "in a romantic relationship" for a year and a half to about two years, authorities said.
Asked whether Neville and Gillespie were partners or husbands, Scardina said investigators were still trying to determine the relationship between the three men. However, he said the older men "had been roommates for about 14 years."
Scardina said the men have claimed they were only roommates, not partners or husbands. He also said he had no evidence to support that Neville also was in a relationship with Jackson.
Jackson had a Guerneville address and also stayed at the trailer from three to five days a week, Scardina said.
Borden said he couldn't comment on the alleged fight before the shooting or the men's relationships.
In July, there had been another "disturbance" at the trailer that resulted in someone being taken in on a psychiatric hold "and brought to the county crisis unit," said Scardina. He declined to say who had been held.
In another incident, which Scardina estimated occurred in December, "deputies responded for an unwanted subject," but when they arrived, they couldn't locate the subject. The unwanted subject was Jackson, he said.
Scardina said he didn't know what the specific problem with Jackson had been at that time. He only knew that Jackson "was going to be told not to come onto the property anymore."
Then, in another call "within the last month, one of the parties wanted us to tell Mr. Jackson he was no longer welcome on the property, and if he didn't stop coming by, they were going to seek a restraining order," said Scardina. "We don't have any information that a restraining order was sought or obtained."
Scardina couldn't immediately say whether Neville or Gillespie had been complaining about Jackson in the two recent incidents.
'The quietest one'
At Lawson's Landing Friday, March 21, several cattle sat in the open near the resort's 190 or so trailers. Outside Neville's dusty tan trailer, not far from a bay popular for fishing, empty beer bottles were neatly arranged on the deck, which also held some fishing and workout equipment, a desk, and lawn ornaments. No one answered the door at Neville's trailer or at several neighboring trailers.
An older blue-green Saturn was parked outside the home. A state Department of Motor Vehicle registration bearing Jackson's name, a document from 24 Hour Fitness, and a soccer ball were visible through the windows.
Standing in a small shop near the men's trailer, Carl Vogler, 43, who's co-owned Lawson's Landing for 10 years, said that of the three men, Neville "was the quietest one. He didn't really come out very much."
Jackson "was out and about the most" and was "really friendly," he said. The young man could often be seen walking a border collie by the name of Nigel.
Gillespie "was nice," and "would come by every once in a while," he said, though he did not refer to Gillespie by name.
Neville and Gillespie had moved in in June, said Vogler. He estimated that Jackson moved in in July. He didn't know what the relationships between the three men were, and he'd never seen all three of them together.
Kerry Apgar, 53, who works at the shop, said Jackson "was a very nice young man" who "had a smile that lit up the room."
Anyone with information in the case is encouraged to call the sheriff's office at (415) 479-2311. The incident number is SO 14-1532.