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ELDERLY MAN FATALLY SHOOTS NEIGHBORS IN LAND DISPUTE.

Byline: Associated Press

An elderly man shot to death four members of the family next door and killed himself in a feud over the 5-foot-wide strip of land between their lakefront houses.

Paul Crawford, 74, was angry with his neighbor's children for playing on his dock on Big Sauk Lake, and grew madder because he thought they had removed a stake planted by the surveyor he had hired to establish where the property line lay, Sheriff David Kircher said.

On Thursday night, Warren Schloegl, 41, and his 12-year-old daughter Jodi were found in their yard. Schloegl's wife, Marcella, and the couple's 11-year-old son, Eric, were found slain inside their house.

Crawford's body was found in his own yard. Police discovered a pistol and rifle.

``This is the most dramatic and most senseless crime that I've seen,'' Kircher said. ``It's really a shame that disputes are settled this way. It's such a waste.''

Investigators believe that Eric placed the first of two 911 calls. His other sister, 16-year-old Nicole, was not at home at the time.

``They were easy neighbors and good kids,'' said Rita Hittle, whose husband found the bodies in the yard. ``We knew there was a dispute, but we had no idea it was this bad.''

Todd County Attorney Chuck Rasmussen said Crawford contacted him recently to ask what he could do about the property dispute. He said Crawford spent $300 to $400 on the survey, which was useless after the stake was removed.

The shootings occurred 15 to 20 minutes after a sheriff's deputy talked to Crawford and the Schloegls about the dispute, Kircher said. There had been previous calls about the feud from both sides. The deputy felt he had calmed things before he left, the sheriff said.

Crawford, who was divorced, lived alone.

Sauk Centre, population 3,600, is about 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 22, 1996
Words:310
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