It’s often said that good fences make good neighbors, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. While most neighbors have a cordial relationship, others are not so lucky. They live next to the neighbors from hell—people who are loud, horribly bothersome, and inconsiderate.
When such a neighbor ignores property lines and polite requests to tone things down, events can quickly escalate from petty retaliation to a tragic declaration of all-out war.
10 Helen Staudinger
In Fort McCoy, Florida, 92-year-old Helen Staudinger was a lonely widow who became smitten with 53-year-old Dwight Bettner. The two met in 2010 when Bettner moved in next door.
Shortly after moving in, Bettner helped the senior with her stove, driving her to a nearby city to pick up a part. The two stopped for a bite to eat on the way back, and Staudinger offered to pay for the meal. In return, Bettner kissed her on the cheek. Even though Bettner thought of it as an innocent, friendly gesture, the kiss meant more to Staudinger.
Soon after, Staudinger began dropping by Bettner’s home, often inviting him out to dinner or offering to cook for him. When she found out that he had a girlfriend, she became so enraged that she tried to strangle the woman.
In March 2011, things escalated further when Staudinger was visiting Bettner. As she was leaving, he refused to kiss her, which angered Staudinger. After engaging in a verbal altercation, Staudinger stormed off. She retrieved a gun from her home and returned to Bettner’s residence. Then she fired several shots at his house.
Thankfully, Bettner was not injured in the assault. Staudinger denies shooting at Bettner because he refused to kiss her. She says that she was angry because he owed her money for all the dinners that she had bought him.
Staudinger was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied dwelling. She was also ordered not to have any contact with Bettner.
9 Phillip Rodger Bennett
Phillip Rodger Bennett, 58, of Bartow County, Georgia, had a history of violence. While in prison for voluntary manslaughter, he attacked another inmate with a shovel, ripping off his nose.
In 2010, after his release from prison, he moved next door to Marty Corbitt. In the beginning, the two got along. Corbitt even helped Bennett move in. But things started to go south when Bennett felt that Corbitt was not maintaining his yard.
Bennett was meticulous about his lawn, mowing it several times a week. He often became angry with Corbitt because he did not mow his lawn frequently, which resulted in the grass being longer than Bennett felt it should be. Bennett even offered to mow his neighbor’s grass, but the offer was always refused. The two men had several heated arguments about the issue.
One afternoon in May 2013, Bennett decided to confront his neighbor about the grass again. He arrived at Corbitt’s residence and started kicking the door, telling Corbitt that he had five seconds to get outside. Fearing for his and his three-year-old daughter’s safety, Corbitt called 911.
Bennett left but returned seconds later, carrying two gas cans. He smashed through the kitchen window and began pouring gasoline inside. Then he took out a lighter and set the home on fire.
Corbitt was able to grab his daughter and escape unharmed. Unfortunately, his home was gutted in the blaze. Bennett fled the scene but was apprehended by marshals the following day.
Bennett was taken to the hospital and treated for burns to his hands and arms. Then he was charged with multiple felonies including arson, aggravated assault, and cruelty to children.
8 Irsie Henry
Most people would take comfort in the fact that a police officer lives on their street. Sadly, this was not the case for the residents of a neighborhood in Altadena, California. For years, they complained to the LAPD that one of their officers, Irsie Henry, was terrorizing the quiet neighborhood.
Henry moved into his home in Altadena in 2001. A few months later, he and neighbor John Hamilton began arguing about a fence that was on the property line. Henry wanted the fence to be replaced, but Hamilton would not agree.
Henry began to make his neighbor’s life a living hell. He blew leaves on Hamilton’s property, uttered profanities and racial slurs at his wife and children, and even accused his 13-year-old son of stealing. He also made obscene sexual gestures to Hamilton’s young daughter.
In 2002, Henry sued Hamilton after a surveyor’s report proved that part of the fence was on his property. He was awarded a judgment of $6,500. But this did not stop his reign of terror. Henry continued to harass the Hamiltons, flinging his cigarette butts in their yard and even pelting eggs at their property. Soon the two men were engaging in tit-for-tat retaliation that escalated each time.
Each installed security cameras to record the other’s attacks. As the situation worsened, each man also obtained a restraining order against the other. After numerous complaints to the LAPD, Henry finally had to meet with Internal Affairs. In fall 2006, after a lengthy investigation, Henry was fired. He blamed his neighbors for being terminated, and things escalated further.
In 2007, after getting caught vandalizing the Hamiltons’ property, Henry was found guilty of two counts of contempt of court for violating a restraining order. He was given a 10-day suspended sentence.
In 2008, his trial for misdemeanor assault began. The charge stemmed from an incident in 2006 in which Henry used pepper spray on Hamilton during a physical confrontation. The jury was not allowed to hear about Henry’s recent 10-day suspended sentence.
Despite evidence to the contrary, Henry’s lawyer argued that Henry had sprayed Hamilton with aerosol deodorant, not pepper spray. The jury acquitted Henry of all charges. Henry sold his home and moved away.
7 Debra Kincy
On October 20, 2015, Florida resident Debra Kincy, 63, called 911 to report finding the lifeless body of Charlotte Nicholas, her 64-year-old neighbor. Nicholas had been stabbed to death in her home, receiving about 70 wounds to her head, neck, and torso. The broken blade was still embedded in her body.
Kincy told police that she had gone to visit her friend that day. As Nicholas always left her door unlocked, Kincy had just walked in when she arrived. She found her friend in the kitchen, covered in blood.
However, suspicion soon fell on Kincy. Police discovered that she had gone to a local pawnshop that day to sell some of Nicholas’s rings. A background check revealed that Kincy had several aliases and a criminal record that spanned 45 years.
When police interviewed several of Nicholas’s friends, they said that Nicholas had been scared of Kincy. Nicholas had referred to Kincy as the crazy woman next door who always bothered her. According to one friend, Nicholas had told him that if anything ever happened to her, Kincy was responsible.
During a police interrogation, Kincy admitted to having been in a physical struggle with the victim. However, she could not remember much as she had blacked out. She was arrested and charged with murder, depraved indifference, false ownership, and dealing in stolen property. As of early 2016, she was being held without bond.
6 Melanie Smith
Melanie Smith, 43, of North Wales lived in the same apartment building as 20-year-old Lee-Anna Shiers. Smith, who was an unstable alcoholic, often confronted Shiers for leaving her baby stroller in their shared entranceway. Smith also accused Shiers of being noisy and leaving her cigarettes butts lying around.
Although she had no proof, Smith began to suspect that her boyfriend, Stephen Clarkson, was having an affair with Shiers and another woman. Smith blamed the young mother for her failing relationship with Clarkson and even threatened to set fire to Shiers’s apartment. The altercations between the two women became so hostile that the landlord served Smith with an eviction notice.
On October 19, 2012, Smith was at home drinking heavily. She could hear Shiers having sex with her boyfriend, 23-year-old Liam Timbrell. Smith became enraged. She went out to the entranceway and set fire to the baby stroller. The fire got out of control and quickly spread.
Smith was able to escape but Shiers and Timbrell were trapped in their apartment. Also in the apartment was their 15-month-old son (Charlie), Shiers’s four-year-old nephew (Bailey), and her two-year-old niece (Skye).
Shiers, Bailey, and Skye perished in the fire. First responders were able to rescue Timbrell and Charlie from the blaze, but they later died at the hospital.
Smith was arrested and charged with five counts of murder and one count of making threats of arson. She was found guilty and sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison.
5 John Kenney
In 1999, John Kenney purchased a home in Carmel Valley, California. When he closed escrow, he signed paperwork to acknowledge an easement on his property. This gave neighbors Mel and Elizabeth Grimes the right to drive on a small piece of Kenney’s property to get to their own.
The neighbors had a cordial relationship until 2002 when Kenney began sending strange emails to the Grimeses. Kenney accused the couple of dumping waste on his property and sending their dogs over to poop in his yard. He also accused them of banging on his windows late at night.
The Grimeses felt harassed by Kenney, who often photographed them. They also thought that he had poisoned their dog and cats. Things escalated further when Kenney blocked the easement on his property, preventing the Grimeses from accessing their carport.
In November 2005, a judge ordered the neighbors not to have contact with each other, although a formal restraining order was not issued. Unfortunately, the feud continued.
In January 2007, Kenney decided to block the easement again. He ordered a large boulder to be delivered to his home. Then he had a security guard and his lawyer meet at his property while he placed the boulder on the land to which the Grimeses had legal access.
Thinking there might be trouble, the lawyer called the sheriff to ask for the assistance of a deputy. The deputy never arrived. Soon after, both the lawyer and security guard left.
When the Grimeses arrived home and could not turn into their carport, Mel grabbed a sledgehammer to try to break the boulder. Elizabeth called 911. They were confronted by Kenney, who shot and killed both of them.
Kenney told police that he had acted in self-defense because Mel Grimes had attacked him first. Kenney was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Elizabeth and second-degree murder in the death of Mel. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In 2012, Kenney’s request for a new trial was denied.
4 Angela Stoldt
James Sheaffer, 36, lived across the street from 42-year-old Angela Stoldt in a quiet neighborhood in Florida. The two had become so close that they even shared a joint banking account.
On April 3, 2013, Sheaffer was at Stoldt’s home discussing their finances. Angela was upset that he kept overdrawing funds from their account. She fixed him a drink containing vodka and prescription muscle relaxers to make him confused and sleepy.
Then she drove him to a local cemetery where they continued to fight. Sheaffer threatened to kill Stoldt if she didn’t give him a $4,000 loan. During the argument, he lunged at Stoldt.
She retrieved an ice pick from her vehicle and stabbed Sheaffer in the eye. Then Stoldt strangled him with a rope. Unsure what to do with his body, she brought him to her house and came up with a plan. She cut his body into pieces and began baking and boiling the body parts. When that did not work, she threw Sheaffer’s remains in a dumpster.
A few weeks after the murder, Stoldt told her sister what she had done. Her sister contacted the police. During questioning, Stoldt confessed to killing Sheaffer but maintained that she had acted in self-defense.
She was convicted of first-degree murder, abuse of a human body, and tampering with physical evidence. She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
3 Billy Woodward
The Woodward family and the Hembree family lived on the same street in a peaceful neighborhood in Titusville, Florida. By all accounts, the families got along well and their children often played together.
That all changed in summer 2012 when the Woodwards accused Gary Hembree’s daughter of stealing one of their daughter’s birthday presents. After the theft accusation, the two families began bickering, even calling the police on each other for minor infractions.
As the feud grew worse, other neighbors got involved and took sides. Eventually, both parties sought restraining orders. The judge denied their requests and sent everyone home. After their court appearance, Billy Woodward attacked Gary Hembree in the parking lot. Woodward was arrested and released a short time later.
On Labor Day weekend in 2012, Hembree and his roommate, Roger Picior, were hosting friends and neighbors at their home for a barbecue. During the party, the group decided to have a little fun at the Woodwards’ expense. They shined a floodlight at the home, played loud music, and began shouting taunts and insults.
Billy Woodward had had enough. He grabbed his gun and went after his neighbors. Woodward fired 31 times, only stopping to reload his weapon. When police arrived, Woodward said, “I got ’em all.” Hembree and Picior died in the shooting. Another neighbor, Tim Blake, was shot but survived.
Woodward was arrested and charged with murder. He claimed self-defense and invoked Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. In 2015, a judge found that Woodward was not protected from prosecution by the law. As of early 2016, he was awaiting trial.
2 Richard Uffelman
It’s not known exactly what precipitated the feud between Richard Uffelman, 45, and his married neighbors Michael Phillips, 38, and Florence Phillips, 41. But residents of the small coastal town of Machiasport, Maine, describe the situation as a real Hatfield-McCoy feud.
Uffelman was described by many in the community as eccentric and paranoid. Once hired as the community’s only police officer, he was terminated from the position one week later after he shot a dog. Then Uffelman threatened to kill the man who had fired him.
Uffelman also began calling police to say that his neighbors were harassing him. He accused the Phillipses of stealing his mail, throwing bottles at his house, and shooting at his pool when his kids were in it. The feud became so bad that the Phillipses installed security cameras.
In August 1989, the Phillipses left their home to go for a walk. As they passed the Uffelman residence, Uffelman and his two preteen sons opened fire from their living room and shot the Phillipses.
As the Phillipses lay wounded, Uffelman walked up to the couple and shot them dead at point-blank range. The entire incident was captured on the Phillipses’ security camera.
Uffelman was arrested and charged with murder. When police searched his residence, they found 38 guns and several high-tech security systems. Uffelman had also installed trip wire on his lawn, kept German shepherds under his front porch, and mounted aircraft landing lights on the corners of his house.
Uffelman was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His sons were not charged for their roles in the murders.
1 Roland Younce
Roland Younce, 63, of Caldwell County, North Carolina, allowed his pit bull to roam free in the small rural neighborhood. This decision would prove to have deadly consequences.
In January 2008, Younce’s pit bull bit the two young daughters of his 44-year-old neighbor, Tony Moore. As a result, Moore sued Younce for the cost of the medical bills. The judge ruled in Younce’s favor and dismissed the lawsuit.
This caused an 18-month feud between the two men. They called the police on each other over frivolous actions and filed several lawsuits against each other.
In May 2009, the feud came to a dramatic conclusion when Moore found Younce’s dog on his porch and shot it. Then Moore called the sheriff’s office to report what had happened and went outside to wait for deputies to arrive. His two young daughters accompanied him.
They were met by Younce, who was armed with a gun. Moore, who was confined to a wheelchair, screamed for his daughters to run as he also tried to escape Younce. But Younce shot Moore in the back, hip, and shoulder. Eight-year-old Ashley was also shot in the back.
When deputies arrived, they were met by gunfire. They called for backup, and the SWAT team arrived to assist. A shoot-out occurred. Police were able to evacuate Moore and his children and take them to the hospital.
Two officers were also injured during the shoot-out, and Younce was fatally shot. Moore, his daughter Ashley, and the two officers recovered from their injuries.