4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Murder brings down price of some San Diego homes

Heaven’s Gate in Rancho Santa Fe, natch, but Carlsbad, Clairemont, Fallbrook, Torrey Highlands, too

Google Street View images of 317 East Fallbrook Street, from 2012 and 2020. Described on Zillow as a “charming Fallbrook home [within] walking distance to downtown,” this three-bedroom, two-bath home, with 925 square feet of living space, last sold on January 8, 2021 for $515,000.
Google Street View images of 317 East Fallbrook Street, from 2012 and 2020. Described on Zillow as a “charming Fallbrook home [within] walking distance to downtown,” this three-bedroom, two-bath home, with 925 square feet of living space, last sold on January 8, 2021 for $515,000.

The house at 2719 Chestnut Avenue in northeast Carlsbad sits on a tract of land once used for tomato farming. The tract is a neat, well-kept neighborhood that is home to a mix of young families and older couples, many of whom raised their now-adult children there but never felt the need to downsize. Perhaps that’s because the homes are all of modest size — three to four bedroom places lining the quiet streets and their broad sidewalks. If anyone ever set out to reboot the classic sitcom Leave it to Beaver, then hilly Chestnut Avenue is the sort of street they would no doubt choose as a location. There’s no homeowners association, but there’s really no need: virtually every house is in fine shape, with pleasant landscaping ranging from tropical to desert. And 2719 is no exception: olive green with white trim, the home has a terraced front yard with two retaining walls and a landscaping theme that leans toward tropical, with palms and cordylines.

Google Street View images of 317 East Fallbrook Street, from 2012 and 2020. Described on Zillow as a “charming Fallbrook home [within] walking distance to downtown,” this three-bedroom, two-bath home, with 925 square feet of living space, last sold on January 8, 2021 for $515,000.

The house, whose value Zillow currently pegs at more than $1.1 million, last sold for $521,000 on July 10, 2009. It was a quick sale: less than six months earlier, an elderly couple had been brutally slain in the upstairs bedroom, hacked to death with a machete by their 40-year-old son. The victims were 79-year Jean Gluck and her 90-year-old husband, Harry. Police found their bodies on January 18, 2009, after another family member called police and asked them to check on the couple, as he hadn’t heard from them. “When police arrived, Jean Gluck’s brother, Tom Regan, 78, who is legally blind and hearing impaired, was at the residence and granted access to the home so officers could complete a welfare check,” according to a San Diego Union-Tribune story. Regan also lived at the home. Both victims had been killed with a machete; the attack was so savage that Jean was nearly decapitated, according to news reports. The killer had also tried to set Harry Gluck on fire.

Police immediately zeroed in on the home’s fourth resident — the couple’s 44-year-old son Dennis, who was missing — as a suspect. Tracked by police through his debit card transactions, he was apprehended on a bus in Ensenada six weeks later and turned over to Carlsbad police by Mexican authorities at the San Ysidro port of entry. Gluck had a history of mental illnes: a schizophrenic transient prior to moving back in with his mom and dad, he had been arrested in June 2000 for threatening a man with a machete in an Oceanside homeless camp. Eight years earlier, his father had filed a restraining order against him for making threats, according to court documents. At a preliminary hearing in April 2009, Carlsbad Detective Bryan Hargett testified that Dennis Gluck had confessed to the slayings. According to a Union-Tribune story, he told police he killed his mother first, “swinging a machete onto her neck as she lay in bed.” Then, the man told Hargett, he hacked his 90-year-old father to death and set his body on fire. “‘He didn’t want them to suffer,’ Hargett testified. ‘He wanted it to be over quickly.’”

In November 2011, Gluck was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison. The realtor who sold the Gluck house less than six months after the murder said the sales price was significantly less than what comparable homes in the neighborhood were selling for. She was initially willing to be interviewed about the challenges of selling homes in which murders occurred, but later changed her mind, writing in an email, “I have given this much thought and feel strongly that my client’s privacy is my first priority and that we shall not be able to discuss this particular listing or the events that preceded the sale, or during the sale. I simply will have no comment on this issue.”


Google Street View images of 2719 Chestnut Avenue in northeast Carlsbad, from 2007 and 2021. The home last sold for $521,000 on July 10, 2009.

Home prices are through the roof (apologies for the pun). Demand so far exceeds supply right now that buyers routinely pay more than the asking price, because quite often, a bidding war erupts when a home goes on the market. Data from the Redfin real estate brokerage shows that more than seventy percent of homes in San Diego County sell in two weeks or less, and the California Association of Realtors says the median price for a San Diego home reached an all-time high in June of $865,000. Yet every so often, buyers can purchase a home for up to twenty percent below the going rate. Like the Gluck house, these homes come with a gruesome history: They were the scene of a murder, or murders.

“The diminution in value is generally between fifteen and twenty percent, depending on various factors,” says Dr. Randall Bell, a real estate appraiser who has worked with a number of murder homes in the San Diego area. “I’ve seen murder properties sell at full value — generally smaller, less expensive homes — and I’ve seen properties where nobody will touch it, at least not for a considerable amount of time. The Jeffrey Dahmer property is an exception, because in that case, the apartment building where he killed all those people actually sold for a premium. But most people are turned off by it.” Bell specializes in Real Estate Damage Economics, or REDE. “Real Estate Damage Economics is anything that negatively, or potentially negatively, impacts property values,” he says. “I get involved with natural disasters, environmental spills, and crime scenes.” Shortly after launching his company, Landmark Research, in Dana Point back in 1986, Bell shifted his focus to the then newly emerging study of REDE. “I was looking for something different,” he says. “I applied to law school, got in, and then the day before, had this epiphany: I decided to take my skill set as an appraiser and turn it upside down. Instead of looking at what creates value, I would focus on what destroys value.”

Locally, the most notorious murder house Bell appraised was the Rancho Santa Fe mansion where 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult killed themselves in March 1997. “I worked on that for a couple of years,” Bell says. “The owner invited me down and I went in there the day after they finished taking out the bodies. The smell, the stench, was still there – I remember that. I saw a lot of blood, but at least the bodies were out.” The house, which had been rented to the cult members, was put on the market, but no offers came in. It was ultimately repossessed by the bank. A new owner, Bell says, “ended up tearing it down – every fence, the pool, the driveway, even the trees. It was a 100 percent demolition. It really was unprecedented. Even on the O.J. Simpson property, they left the tennis court and guest house and a lot of the landscaping and fencing.”

Bell says homes in which murders have occurred can prove a challenging sale. “You’ve got two issues,” he says. “One is the practical issue of property disclosure, and then there are all the things you have to do with the property. When you prepare a home for sale, you always want to put the best face forward — repaint, get rid of the clutter.” But when you add the crime scene stigma, you’re dealing with emotions...” Under California law, sellers or their agents have to disclose a death on the property only if it occurred within the last three years. But if the home was the scene of a violent murder, or if the buyer asks whether any deaths have occurred on the property, sellers and agents must share what they know, regardless of how long ago it happened. “You have to have realistic expectations,” Bell says. “A lot of people think the market will just blow that off as a non-issue, and occasionally that does happen. But for the most part, you’re going to see some resistance toward that property, given its history. People look at their homes as a refuge from the world, and they don’t want to go home to a place where the neighbors are pointing and gawking.”

Google Street View images of 2719 Chestnut Avenue in northeast Carlsbad, from 2007 and 2021. The home last sold for $521,000 on July 10, 2009.

Then there’s the matter of fixing up a murder house, which typically goes beyond merely slapping on a fresh coat of paint and laying down some new carpet. Bullet holes in the walls, for example, are generally not just patched up. Rather, new drywall is installed. And if blood seeps into the floor boards, they need to be ripped up and replaced. “When you have blood or bullet holes, police don’t clean that up,” Bell says. “They do the investigation, the coroner takes away the body, and what you get with that quite often is a gruesome mess. Realtors may hire someone to do it – there are companies out there that specialize in what’s called ‘biological containment’ – but ultimately, it’s the property owner or property manager who is left with that task.”

Further complicating the sale of a murder house is the question of title. “Sometimes it’s clean, other times it goes to probate, and sometimes it’s a rental,” Bell says. “The house where the Sharon Tate murders took place, for example. Sharon rented the house from a guy who lived in Laguna Beach. And after the murder, he moved back into the house and lived there for years.” Murders that take place in a private residence range from domestic quarrels to home invasions, but lean toward the former. Rick Carlson, a retired homicide detective with the San Diego Police Department, says that “in most homes where murders occur, there is some connection between the victim and the suspect.”

Google Street View images of 2719 Chestnut Avenue in northeast Carlsbad, from 2007 and 2021. The home last sold for $521,000 on July 10, 2009.

Here are seven other San Diego County homes that have been the scenes of relatively recent murders (over the last fifteen years), along with their current status and their dark histories.

317 East Fallbrook Street, Fallbrook

Murdered: One victim, April 2012

Described on Zillow as a “charming Fallbrook home [within] walking distance to downtown,” this three-bedroom, two-bath home, with 925 square feet of living space, last sold on January 8, 2021 for $515,000. Photographs on Zillow show a stylish, contemporary interior with hardwood floors, wood window frames, plantation shutters and white subway tiles in the kitchen. The listing says the home features a “large backyard [that] offers space for entertaining or even adding a pool,” with a lower bedroom and bathroom with a “separate entrance for in-laws or added income.”

Dorothy Maraglino was found four days after Kilgore’s disappearance, alone and badly injured in a hotel room, along with a letter describing Killgore’s murder.

On the night of Friday, April 13, 2012, Louis Ray Perez picked up Brittany Killgore, the 22-year-old wife of a deployed Marine, at her Fallbrook apartment with the promise of taking her on a harbor cruise. But after picking up the dark-haired young woman, Perez confessed the boat had already left, but said he would be happy to take her somewhere else. First, however, he had to stop at the nearby home of a friend, Dorothy Maraglino, who at the timed lived in the small house at 317 East Fallbrook Street. At some point during the short drive, Perez pulled out a foot-long stun baton and zapped Killgore into unconsciousness – but not before she was sent a text message to a friend that consisted of just one word: “Help.”

Four days later, Killgore’s body was found, nude and mutilated, in a dirt field off Borel Road near Lake Skinner in the Riverside County town of Winchester. An autopsy report said Killgore had strangulation marks on her neck, wounds on her left wrist consistent with handcuff use, and two small, brown marks on her face and neck believed to have been caused by the stun gun. The autopsy report also noted large wounds on her wrist and left knee “suggestive of attempted dismemberment.”

Perez, Maraglino, and Jessica Lopez, who lived in the East Fallbrook Street home with Maraglino, were subsequently arrested, tried, and convicted of young Brittany Killgore’s murder. Police said the three were involved in a bondage, discipline and sadomasochistic lifestyle. Besides murder, they were charged with torture, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit a crime, and attempted sexual battery in Killgore’s slaying. According to a warrant, a search of the home on East Fallbrook Street led investigators to a room that appeared to be a sex dungeon, with whips, crops, leather restraints, a ball gag, a leather collar, zip ties, various ropes and cords, swords, a machete, black spiked gloves and a black knife labeled “The Black Defender.”

Court testimony revealed that Maraglino was a dominatrix known as “Mistress Dee” who had lived in the home with a succession of submissive women who had been forced to sign “slave contracts.” Lopez had lived in the home with Maraglino the longest; she was found four days after Kilgore’s disappearance, alone and badly injured in a hotel room, along with a letter describing Killgore’s murder in the house and where her body could be found. An excerpt from that letter: “You’ll also find a taser mark and several ligature marks around her scrawny little neck as the bitch just wouldn’t die. You’ll find plenty of mutilation marks & bruises of where I knocked her down & held her still… I wrapped the rope around her neck after burying her face in the pillow & started to strangle her. She barely moved but she just wouldn’t die, the miserable whore….”

A deputy with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said in an affidavit that the three killed Killgore to satisfy their “unusual sexual fetishes.”

2152 Flintridge Drive, Paradise Hills

Murdered: Six victims, November 2019

This home in one of Southeast San Diego’s rougher neighborhoods is half of a single-story duplex – the other one is at 2150 Flintridge Drive – joined in the middle by two side-by-side garages. It was listed for sale at $595,000 in July 2020, and sold in December 2020 for $560,000. The home’s sales pitch was clearly targeted at investors: “Duplex with attached granny flat,” the Redfin description reads. “Tremendous cash flow potential, 2 units with an additional granny flat, all permitted. Take advantage of the enclosed patio to increase value as rentable space or additional space for an owner/occupant. Lease out one unit and enjoy a supplement to the mortgage payment. Great property for in-home care business (check with city)... Fruit trees, producing Hass avocado and citrus... Has some deferred maintenance.”

The unit at 2152 Flintridge was also the scene of one of the most brutal mass murders in recent San Diego history. It was here that, early on the morning of Saturday, November 16, 2019, 31-year-old Jose Valdivia killed his 29-year-old wife, Sabrina Rosario, during an argument, just one day after she had filed for a restraining order amid a divorce. After fatally shooting his wife, Valdivia turned the gun on the couple’s four children: three-year-old Enzi Valdivia; five-year-old Zuriel Valdivia; nine-year-old Ezekiel Valdivia; and eleven-year-old Zeth Valdivia. Then he shot himself.

According to San Diego police, a 911 call from the home came in at 6:49 am. No one spoke, but police could hear a man and a woman arguing in the background. As officers were en route to the residence, a relative who lived next door also called 911, saying he had heard arguing and what sounded like a nail gun being fired. “When the officers arrived on scene, they looked in a window and saw a young child on the floor bleeding,” according to a homicide news release. “The officers forced entry into the residence and discovered five additional people, all suffering from apparent gunshot wounds.” Both parents and little Enzi were pronounced dead on the scene. The three older boys were taken to local hospitals, where two died shortly after they arrived. Ezekiel underwent emergency surgery, but a week later, he too died.

About two weeks before the shooting, Jose Valdivia had sent his estranged wife a picture of a handgun with the message, “It’s happening, like it or not,” according to court documents obtained by Channel 10. In the days leading up to the murders, he repeatedly called and texted Rosario, according to news reports. In her petition for a restraining order, Rosario wrote that since she filed for divorce in June 2019, Jose Valdivia “has consistently harassed and threatened me over the phone.” He also frequently showed up at the house and waited outside in his car. Rosario wrote that she was asking the court for a restraining order because “I am afraid that with respondent’s unstable behavior and alcohol dependency, respondent will hurt me or our children. I do not feel safe around respondent or having our children in his presence.”

A GoFundMe account raised $61,777 to help the family pay for burial and medical costs.

4368 Mt. Putnam Avenue, Clairemont

Murdered: One victim, July 2017

Described on Zillow as a “Mount Street beauty,” this three-bedroom, two-bath home was built in 1960 in the heart of Clairemont, San Diego’s largest post-World War II subdivision. Originally known as “The Village Within a City,” Clairemont welcomed its first residents in May 1951, and for the next decade and a half underwent a major growth spurt. The “Mount Street” neighborhood is known for streets that twist and turn across Clairemont Mesa and are, for reasons unknown, named after mountains. Nor is it known whether Mt. Putnam Avenue was named after Mount Putnam in Idaho or Mount Putnam in Vermont. Either way, the home at 4368 Mt. Putnam Avenue has 1790 square feet of living space, and according to Zillow features “gorgeous hardwood floors...lots of cabinet storage & counter space & island breakfast bar w/additional sink [and a] private & spacious master suite [that] opens to the lush backyard.”

The home last sold for $795,000 on July 16, 2019 – nearly two years to the day after the brutal slaying of 58-year-old Angela Burks, a longtime science teacher at Otay Ranch High School, by her 30-year-old son, Joseph. Shortly after 7 pm on Monday, July 24, 2017, a 911 call came in from the house. The caller, who turned out to be Joseph Burks, said he had been injured in a knife attack. Police arrived at the scene and found the young man standing in the driveway, bleeding. He told them he had stabbed his mother and believed she was in need of medical care. Police went inside the house and found Angela Burks lying on the floor, unconscious. She had been stabbed more than 20 times in the head, neck and throat. Angela Burks was transported to a nearby trauma center, where she was pronounced dead. Joseph Burks was taken to a hospital for his wounds and arrested for her murder. The following year, he was convicted and sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. During the trial, Joseph Burks claimed he had acted in self-defense, but Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey said that the man watched his mother die, cleaned up, and then made up the story that she attacked him and he had to defend himself. Joseph Burks had lived his whole life with his mother, according to testimony from the trial. According to a Star-News article, “His grandmother, Josephine Van Atta, said her grandson was not working and did not pay rent. She said he hurt his back and got pain medications. Emergency room medical bills were found scattered in his room. ‘She was afraid he might hurt her,’ said Van Atta. ‘She was afraid if something happened to her, he would blame it on someone else.’”

Burks’ attorneys promptly appealed the conviction, arguing that under a new state law, he should have been considered eligible for placement in a mental health program. But in January 2020, a trio justices from California’s Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld the conviction, noting that the law had subsequently been amended to exclude those convicted of murder and other violent felonies.

7405 Via Rivera, Torrey Highlands

Murdered: Two victims, August 2019

This four-bedroom, three-bath home in the Torrey Highlands neighborhood is located just south of State Route 56, about midway between Interstates 5 and 15. It’s part of a high-end tract of imposing two-story homes west of Rancho Peñasquitos that were built in the early 2000s on 1134 acres of land that had previously been used for agriculture. The home is not on the market, but Redfin estimates its value at $966,000. Until August 16, 2019, 7405 Via Rivera was home to a middle-age couple and their adult son: Yi Cheng, 60, a manager in the engineering department of Qualcomm; his wife, Xiaoqun Fang, 58, who had once worked at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies; and the couple’s 30-year-old son, Fang Cheng.

Early on the morning of Friday, August 16, police responded to a call about a person jumping from the Eastgate Mall overpass that crosses Interstate 805. They found the body of Fang Cheng on the freeway, beneath the bridge. The next evening, Fang Cheng’s parents were expected to arrive in San Francisco, but they never showed. Concerned family members called the police, who went out to the house around 10 pm. “Upon arriving at the location, officers attempted to make contact at the door, then by telephone, with no success,” according to a San Diego Police Department news release. “The officers looked through a rear window and saw the body of a person lying on the living room floor. This prompted the officers to force entry into the residence. Once inside, officers discovered the bodies of an Asian male and female in their 50s with trauma to the upper body. Both were pronounced deceased at the scene. No one else was located inside the residence.” Investigators later said they believed Fang Cheng killed his parents before killing himself in the fatal jump off the Eastgate Mall bridge.

Once the three were identified, there were no further news reports on the case, nor has the San Diego Police Department issued any updates.

162 Parkcreek Court, Skyline

Murdered: Three victims, May 2011

A typical 1970s tract house, the most prominent feature of this three-bedroom, two-bath ranch-style home is its two-car garage. But whatever it lacks in curb appeal, it makes up for in the back. Situated on a large lot, measuring more than a third of an acre, on a quiet residential cul-de-sac, 162 Parkcreek Court boasts a huge backyard with a nice-sized pool. The home is located in the Bay Terraces neighborhood of Southeast San Diego, a hilly, urban tract developed in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. The neighborhood is largely Filipino, though there is a sizeable Latino population as well.

The home hasn’t been sold since 2004; that was seven years before all four members of the Pimienta family were killed there in a murder-suicide. Alfredo Pimienta, 44, had rented the home in 2009 for his family, consisting of 37-year-old wife Georgina and daughters Priscilla, 17 and Emily, 9. Alfredo drove a tow truck for a living. A relative who had stopped by the house to visit the family early on the morning of Tuesday, May 24, 2011 spotted two of the family members’ bodies in the backyard pool and called the police. Patrol officers subsequently found Alfredo Pimienta and his two daughters dead in the pool, while the body of Georgina Pimienta was found in a bathtub inside the house.

All four appeared to have drowned, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department told the media. The San Diego Union-Tribune later reported that two suicide notes from both the father and the mother had been recovered, and that Alfredo was the last to die. He reportedly drowned his family members one by one, and then strapped a heavy object onto himself and jumped into the pool next to his two lifeless daughters.

Sources told NBC Channel 7 that Alfredo had financial and marital problems, and was still haunted by the death of his son more than a decade earlier. Accoridng to a Channel 7 story that ran the day after the bodies were discovered, “Neighbors and friends said nothing seemed amiss with the couple...Priscilla Pimienta was preparing for college. She was to graduate [the following] month from San Diego’s High Tech High School.” Classmate Alex Jasmund told the TV station that he, Priscilla and two other friends had gone to a nearby movie theater the Monday before the murders to see the 3-D vampire-hunting movie Priest. “Priscilla met with friends for frozen yogurt after the film to plan for Saturday’s prom, including details like ordering a limousine and having a party with about 20 classmates,” the Channel 7 report said.

4176 Ashford Street, Clairemont

Murdered: One victim, April 2019

This modest three-bedroom, two-bath home is in one of Clairemont’s older tracts, south and east of where I-805 meets Balboa Avenue. The homes along this curvy street are similarly styled: single-story, with protruding garages topped with gabled roofs. This particular home has been upgraded since it was built in 1961; there is stone siding along the front wall and a sturdy concrete-block-and-wrought-iron fence between it and the street. The home is located directly across the street from Lindbergh Neighborhood Park, and last sold for $360,000 in January 2008. Its current value, according to Redfin, is $746,000.

Randy Taing, the 58-year-old owner of the popular Rose Donuts shop in Linda Vista, lived and was murdered in the home. Shortly before noon on April 5, 2019, police received a 911 call from Taing’s son, who said his father had called him at work and said he had been robbed. The son drove to the house and found his father gravely injured. By the time police arrived, the senior Taing was unconscious. He was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he died after three days in the intensive care unit.

A year later, the local media reported that police were still looking for suspects. Detectives said Taing was alone in the home when it was broken into, and that a safe had been taken. It wasn’t until this past May that a suspect was arrested: a 34-year-old Los Angeles resident named Keon Wilson. San Diego police lieutenant Andra Brown told the City News Service, “Over the past two years, homicide detectives conducted a thorough investigation and identified a suspect. During the course of the investigation, detectives learned that the suspect was also (allegedly) responsible for residential burglaries in Carlsbad and Poway. San Diego police detectives worked in conjunction with those investigating agencies to identify cases, locate evidence and interview witnesses.”

Wilson was booked into Los Angeles County jail pending transfer to the San Diego area to stand trial for the homicide and burglaries. On June 8, he pleaded not guilty to murder, burglary and grand theft charges.

2350 Juan Street, Old Town

Murdered: One victim, November 2018

This three-bedroom, two-bath home high up on Juan Street is just a few blocks up a steep hill from Old Town State Historic Park, one of San Diego’s most bustling tourist attractions. It’s a neighborhood where several original homes have been torn down and replaced with garish “McMansions,” including two directly across the street. The home at 2350 Juan Street is in impeccable condition, a classic ranch-style home with white walls and copper-colored storm shutters; the driveway curves around a small planter holding three birds of paradise plants, and then past a pair of California junipers. Valued this summer at more than $1.6 million, the home has been the longtime residence of the Peck family, the patriarch of which, Richard Landis Peck, is a former deputy San Diego City Attorney.

By the fall of 2018, Peck, 92 and long retired, was living in the house with just his 51-year-old son, Robert. On the evening of November 14, 2018, the senior Peck walked over to a neighbor’s house and told her he had just shot his son. Police were called and when they arrived they found Robert dead with a bullet wound to his head. Peck was arrested and tried for murder, but wound up pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to just three years of probation and ordered to stay in his home except for necessary errands like grocery shopping and religious services.

Why the light sentence? Peck said he shot his son due to abusive behavior, a charge corroborated by family and friends. Robert “Robbie” Peck had moved in with his dad about three months before his death, according to news reports. He was going through a divorce and could no longer stay in his own home. During those three months, Peck’s attorney said, the nonagenarian feared for his safety and twice called police, who told him they didn’t want to get involved in a family matter.

According to a City News Service report, “abusive acts dictated by the court included Robert Peck shoving a rag soaked in dog’s urine into his father’s face, throwing objects at him, and disabling his father’s phone. He also told his father that he “was almost dead, that he had no purpose to live” and that he “needed to die of natural causes so (Robert) could inherit his money,” according to the judge in the case, San Diego County Superior Court Judge Kathleen M. Lewis. The day of the shooting, Robert Peck smashed his father’s telephone and told him, “I’m going to see you again’’ as he went off to bed, Peck’s attorney said — again, according to the City News Service report. “The attorney said the most assistance Peck was able to receive was a 72-hour psychiatric hold on his son, after which he immediately returned to Peck’s home and the abuse continued, prompting another call to authorities just a week later,” according to the report.

Judge Lewis described Robert Peck as an “extreme alcoholic” who had a .39 blood alcohol content at the time of his death. She said she agreed to probation instead of prison time because of the abuse, as well as the senior Peck’s frail physical condition and recent suffering of broken hips and heart attacks. Robert Peck’s estranged wife and teenage son subsequently filed a wrongful death suit against the elder Peck, and in December 2019, they were awarded $9.5 million.


Dr. Randall Bell, a real estate appraiser, said, “I’ve seen murder properties sell at full value, generally smaller, less expensive homes, and I’ve seen properties where nobody will touch it, at least not for a considerable amount of time.”

There is a certain amount of morbid fascination with murder houses – which explains the “pointing and gawking” that Dr. Randall Bell says often is directed toward homes in which brutal slayings occurred. The first season of the popular TV series American Horror Story is called “Murder House,” after a stately red-brick mansion where a number of gruesome murders have occurred over the years. A new family moves in, unaware that the ghosts of the home’s former residents, both killers and victims, still haunt the house. Things don’t end well.

Currently, the Roku streaming channel is home to a new series of short-form videos called Murder House Flip, a twist on home renovation shows in which each home that gets a makeover was once the site of a gruesome murder. Hosted by designers Mikel Welch and Joelle Uzyel, each episode focuses on a single home and is shown in three parts, each no more than six minutes in length. According to a May 2021 story in House Beautiful, the series has been “well received” by fans. “In the first episode, you can watch Welch and Uzyel renovate a home where seven murders took place,” the article noted. “And if you make it to the finale, you’re in for a treat as they tackle the home where former child star Judith Barsi and her mother were murdered. While these homes all had horrific histories, there is always a happy ending as Welch and Uzyel use design to create a brighter and better space for these families to heal in.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The Carpetbaggers part two: Elizabeth Ashley makes her screen debut

Of all the women who figure into Jonas’ life, she is the only one who isn’t a prostitute.
Next Article

Mainly Mozart's masterful melange

A consistent level of musical excellence that is unrivaled anywhere
Google Street View images of 317 East Fallbrook Street, from 2012 and 2020. Described on Zillow as a “charming Fallbrook home [within] walking distance to downtown,” this three-bedroom, two-bath home, with 925 square feet of living space, last sold on January 8, 2021 for $515,000.
Google Street View images of 317 East Fallbrook Street, from 2012 and 2020. Described on Zillow as a “charming Fallbrook home [within] walking distance to downtown,” this three-bedroom, two-bath home, with 925 square feet of living space, last sold on January 8, 2021 for $515,000.

The house at 2719 Chestnut Avenue in northeast Carlsbad sits on a tract of land once used for tomato farming. The tract is a neat, well-kept neighborhood that is home to a mix of young families and older couples, many of whom raised their now-adult children there but never felt the need to downsize. Perhaps that’s because the homes are all of modest size — three to four bedroom places lining the quiet streets and their broad sidewalks. If anyone ever set out to reboot the classic sitcom Leave it to Beaver, then hilly Chestnut Avenue is the sort of street they would no doubt choose as a location. There’s no homeowners association, but there’s really no need: virtually every house is in fine shape, with pleasant landscaping ranging from tropical to desert. And 2719 is no exception: olive green with white trim, the home has a terraced front yard with two retaining walls and a landscaping theme that leans toward tropical, with palms and cordylines.

Google Street View images of 317 East Fallbrook Street, from 2012 and 2020. Described on Zillow as a “charming Fallbrook home [within] walking distance to downtown,” this three-bedroom, two-bath home, with 925 square feet of living space, last sold on January 8, 2021 for $515,000.

The house, whose value Zillow currently pegs at more than $1.1 million, last sold for $521,000 on July 10, 2009. It was a quick sale: less than six months earlier, an elderly couple had been brutally slain in the upstairs bedroom, hacked to death with a machete by their 40-year-old son. The victims were 79-year Jean Gluck and her 90-year-old husband, Harry. Police found their bodies on January 18, 2009, after another family member called police and asked them to check on the couple, as he hadn’t heard from them. “When police arrived, Jean Gluck’s brother, Tom Regan, 78, who is legally blind and hearing impaired, was at the residence and granted access to the home so officers could complete a welfare check,” according to a San Diego Union-Tribune story. Regan also lived at the home. Both victims had been killed with a machete; the attack was so savage that Jean was nearly decapitated, according to news reports. The killer had also tried to set Harry Gluck on fire.

Police immediately zeroed in on the home’s fourth resident — the couple’s 44-year-old son Dennis, who was missing — as a suspect. Tracked by police through his debit card transactions, he was apprehended on a bus in Ensenada six weeks later and turned over to Carlsbad police by Mexican authorities at the San Ysidro port of entry. Gluck had a history of mental illnes: a schizophrenic transient prior to moving back in with his mom and dad, he had been arrested in June 2000 for threatening a man with a machete in an Oceanside homeless camp. Eight years earlier, his father had filed a restraining order against him for making threats, according to court documents. At a preliminary hearing in April 2009, Carlsbad Detective Bryan Hargett testified that Dennis Gluck had confessed to the slayings. According to a Union-Tribune story, he told police he killed his mother first, “swinging a machete onto her neck as she lay in bed.” Then, the man told Hargett, he hacked his 90-year-old father to death and set his body on fire. “‘He didn’t want them to suffer,’ Hargett testified. ‘He wanted it to be over quickly.’”

In November 2011, Gluck was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison. The realtor who sold the Gluck house less than six months after the murder said the sales price was significantly less than what comparable homes in the neighborhood were selling for. She was initially willing to be interviewed about the challenges of selling homes in which murders occurred, but later changed her mind, writing in an email, “I have given this much thought and feel strongly that my client’s privacy is my first priority and that we shall not be able to discuss this particular listing or the events that preceded the sale, or during the sale. I simply will have no comment on this issue.”


Google Street View images of 2719 Chestnut Avenue in northeast Carlsbad, from 2007 and 2021. The home last sold for $521,000 on July 10, 2009.

Home prices are through the roof (apologies for the pun). Demand so far exceeds supply right now that buyers routinely pay more than the asking price, because quite often, a bidding war erupts when a home goes on the market. Data from the Redfin real estate brokerage shows that more than seventy percent of homes in San Diego County sell in two weeks or less, and the California Association of Realtors says the median price for a San Diego home reached an all-time high in June of $865,000. Yet every so often, buyers can purchase a home for up to twenty percent below the going rate. Like the Gluck house, these homes come with a gruesome history: They were the scene of a murder, or murders.

“The diminution in value is generally between fifteen and twenty percent, depending on various factors,” says Dr. Randall Bell, a real estate appraiser who has worked with a number of murder homes in the San Diego area. “I’ve seen murder properties sell at full value — generally smaller, less expensive homes — and I’ve seen properties where nobody will touch it, at least not for a considerable amount of time. The Jeffrey Dahmer property is an exception, because in that case, the apartment building where he killed all those people actually sold for a premium. But most people are turned off by it.” Bell specializes in Real Estate Damage Economics, or REDE. “Real Estate Damage Economics is anything that negatively, or potentially negatively, impacts property values,” he says. “I get involved with natural disasters, environmental spills, and crime scenes.” Shortly after launching his company, Landmark Research, in Dana Point back in 1986, Bell shifted his focus to the then newly emerging study of REDE. “I was looking for something different,” he says. “I applied to law school, got in, and then the day before, had this epiphany: I decided to take my skill set as an appraiser and turn it upside down. Instead of looking at what creates value, I would focus on what destroys value.”

Locally, the most notorious murder house Bell appraised was the Rancho Santa Fe mansion where 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult killed themselves in March 1997. “I worked on that for a couple of years,” Bell says. “The owner invited me down and I went in there the day after they finished taking out the bodies. The smell, the stench, was still there – I remember that. I saw a lot of blood, but at least the bodies were out.” The house, which had been rented to the cult members, was put on the market, but no offers came in. It was ultimately repossessed by the bank. A new owner, Bell says, “ended up tearing it down – every fence, the pool, the driveway, even the trees. It was a 100 percent demolition. It really was unprecedented. Even on the O.J. Simpson property, they left the tennis court and guest house and a lot of the landscaping and fencing.”

Bell says homes in which murders have occurred can prove a challenging sale. “You’ve got two issues,” he says. “One is the practical issue of property disclosure, and then there are all the things you have to do with the property. When you prepare a home for sale, you always want to put the best face forward — repaint, get rid of the clutter.” But when you add the crime scene stigma, you’re dealing with emotions...” Under California law, sellers or their agents have to disclose a death on the property only if it occurred within the last three years. But if the home was the scene of a violent murder, or if the buyer asks whether any deaths have occurred on the property, sellers and agents must share what they know, regardless of how long ago it happened. “You have to have realistic expectations,” Bell says. “A lot of people think the market will just blow that off as a non-issue, and occasionally that does happen. But for the most part, you’re going to see some resistance toward that property, given its history. People look at their homes as a refuge from the world, and they don’t want to go home to a place where the neighbors are pointing and gawking.”

Google Street View images of 2719 Chestnut Avenue in northeast Carlsbad, from 2007 and 2021. The home last sold for $521,000 on July 10, 2009.

Then there’s the matter of fixing up a murder house, which typically goes beyond merely slapping on a fresh coat of paint and laying down some new carpet. Bullet holes in the walls, for example, are generally not just patched up. Rather, new drywall is installed. And if blood seeps into the floor boards, they need to be ripped up and replaced. “When you have blood or bullet holes, police don’t clean that up,” Bell says. “They do the investigation, the coroner takes away the body, and what you get with that quite often is a gruesome mess. Realtors may hire someone to do it – there are companies out there that specialize in what’s called ‘biological containment’ – but ultimately, it’s the property owner or property manager who is left with that task.”

Further complicating the sale of a murder house is the question of title. “Sometimes it’s clean, other times it goes to probate, and sometimes it’s a rental,” Bell says. “The house where the Sharon Tate murders took place, for example. Sharon rented the house from a guy who lived in Laguna Beach. And after the murder, he moved back into the house and lived there for years.” Murders that take place in a private residence range from domestic quarrels to home invasions, but lean toward the former. Rick Carlson, a retired homicide detective with the San Diego Police Department, says that “in most homes where murders occur, there is some connection between the victim and the suspect.”

Google Street View images of 2719 Chestnut Avenue in northeast Carlsbad, from 2007 and 2021. The home last sold for $521,000 on July 10, 2009.

Here are seven other San Diego County homes that have been the scenes of relatively recent murders (over the last fifteen years), along with their current status and their dark histories.

317 East Fallbrook Street, Fallbrook

Murdered: One victim, April 2012

Described on Zillow as a “charming Fallbrook home [within] walking distance to downtown,” this three-bedroom, two-bath home, with 925 square feet of living space, last sold on January 8, 2021 for $515,000. Photographs on Zillow show a stylish, contemporary interior with hardwood floors, wood window frames, plantation shutters and white subway tiles in the kitchen. The listing says the home features a “large backyard [that] offers space for entertaining or even adding a pool,” with a lower bedroom and bathroom with a “separate entrance for in-laws or added income.”

Dorothy Maraglino was found four days after Kilgore’s disappearance, alone and badly injured in a hotel room, along with a letter describing Killgore’s murder.

On the night of Friday, April 13, 2012, Louis Ray Perez picked up Brittany Killgore, the 22-year-old wife of a deployed Marine, at her Fallbrook apartment with the promise of taking her on a harbor cruise. But after picking up the dark-haired young woman, Perez confessed the boat had already left, but said he would be happy to take her somewhere else. First, however, he had to stop at the nearby home of a friend, Dorothy Maraglino, who at the timed lived in the small house at 317 East Fallbrook Street. At some point during the short drive, Perez pulled out a foot-long stun baton and zapped Killgore into unconsciousness – but not before she was sent a text message to a friend that consisted of just one word: “Help.”

Four days later, Killgore’s body was found, nude and mutilated, in a dirt field off Borel Road near Lake Skinner in the Riverside County town of Winchester. An autopsy report said Killgore had strangulation marks on her neck, wounds on her left wrist consistent with handcuff use, and two small, brown marks on her face and neck believed to have been caused by the stun gun. The autopsy report also noted large wounds on her wrist and left knee “suggestive of attempted dismemberment.”

Perez, Maraglino, and Jessica Lopez, who lived in the East Fallbrook Street home with Maraglino, were subsequently arrested, tried, and convicted of young Brittany Killgore’s murder. Police said the three were involved in a bondage, discipline and sadomasochistic lifestyle. Besides murder, they were charged with torture, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit a crime, and attempted sexual battery in Killgore’s slaying. According to a warrant, a search of the home on East Fallbrook Street led investigators to a room that appeared to be a sex dungeon, with whips, crops, leather restraints, a ball gag, a leather collar, zip ties, various ropes and cords, swords, a machete, black spiked gloves and a black knife labeled “The Black Defender.”

Court testimony revealed that Maraglino was a dominatrix known as “Mistress Dee” who had lived in the home with a succession of submissive women who had been forced to sign “slave contracts.” Lopez had lived in the home with Maraglino the longest; she was found four days after Kilgore’s disappearance, alone and badly injured in a hotel room, along with a letter describing Killgore’s murder in the house and where her body could be found. An excerpt from that letter: “You’ll also find a taser mark and several ligature marks around her scrawny little neck as the bitch just wouldn’t die. You’ll find plenty of mutilation marks & bruises of where I knocked her down & held her still… I wrapped the rope around her neck after burying her face in the pillow & started to strangle her. She barely moved but she just wouldn’t die, the miserable whore….”

A deputy with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said in an affidavit that the three killed Killgore to satisfy their “unusual sexual fetishes.”

2152 Flintridge Drive, Paradise Hills

Murdered: Six victims, November 2019

This home in one of Southeast San Diego’s rougher neighborhoods is half of a single-story duplex – the other one is at 2150 Flintridge Drive – joined in the middle by two side-by-side garages. It was listed for sale at $595,000 in July 2020, and sold in December 2020 for $560,000. The home’s sales pitch was clearly targeted at investors: “Duplex with attached granny flat,” the Redfin description reads. “Tremendous cash flow potential, 2 units with an additional granny flat, all permitted. Take advantage of the enclosed patio to increase value as rentable space or additional space for an owner/occupant. Lease out one unit and enjoy a supplement to the mortgage payment. Great property for in-home care business (check with city)... Fruit trees, producing Hass avocado and citrus... Has some deferred maintenance.”

The unit at 2152 Flintridge was also the scene of one of the most brutal mass murders in recent San Diego history. It was here that, early on the morning of Saturday, November 16, 2019, 31-year-old Jose Valdivia killed his 29-year-old wife, Sabrina Rosario, during an argument, just one day after she had filed for a restraining order amid a divorce. After fatally shooting his wife, Valdivia turned the gun on the couple’s four children: three-year-old Enzi Valdivia; five-year-old Zuriel Valdivia; nine-year-old Ezekiel Valdivia; and eleven-year-old Zeth Valdivia. Then he shot himself.

According to San Diego police, a 911 call from the home came in at 6:49 am. No one spoke, but police could hear a man and a woman arguing in the background. As officers were en route to the residence, a relative who lived next door also called 911, saying he had heard arguing and what sounded like a nail gun being fired. “When the officers arrived on scene, they looked in a window and saw a young child on the floor bleeding,” according to a homicide news release. “The officers forced entry into the residence and discovered five additional people, all suffering from apparent gunshot wounds.” Both parents and little Enzi were pronounced dead on the scene. The three older boys were taken to local hospitals, where two died shortly after they arrived. Ezekiel underwent emergency surgery, but a week later, he too died.

About two weeks before the shooting, Jose Valdivia had sent his estranged wife a picture of a handgun with the message, “It’s happening, like it or not,” according to court documents obtained by Channel 10. In the days leading up to the murders, he repeatedly called and texted Rosario, according to news reports. In her petition for a restraining order, Rosario wrote that since she filed for divorce in June 2019, Jose Valdivia “has consistently harassed and threatened me over the phone.” He also frequently showed up at the house and waited outside in his car. Rosario wrote that she was asking the court for a restraining order because “I am afraid that with respondent’s unstable behavior and alcohol dependency, respondent will hurt me or our children. I do not feel safe around respondent or having our children in his presence.”

A GoFundMe account raised $61,777 to help the family pay for burial and medical costs.

4368 Mt. Putnam Avenue, Clairemont

Murdered: One victim, July 2017

Described on Zillow as a “Mount Street beauty,” this three-bedroom, two-bath home was built in 1960 in the heart of Clairemont, San Diego’s largest post-World War II subdivision. Originally known as “The Village Within a City,” Clairemont welcomed its first residents in May 1951, and for the next decade and a half underwent a major growth spurt. The “Mount Street” neighborhood is known for streets that twist and turn across Clairemont Mesa and are, for reasons unknown, named after mountains. Nor is it known whether Mt. Putnam Avenue was named after Mount Putnam in Idaho or Mount Putnam in Vermont. Either way, the home at 4368 Mt. Putnam Avenue has 1790 square feet of living space, and according to Zillow features “gorgeous hardwood floors...lots of cabinet storage & counter space & island breakfast bar w/additional sink [and a] private & spacious master suite [that] opens to the lush backyard.”

The home last sold for $795,000 on July 16, 2019 – nearly two years to the day after the brutal slaying of 58-year-old Angela Burks, a longtime science teacher at Otay Ranch High School, by her 30-year-old son, Joseph. Shortly after 7 pm on Monday, July 24, 2017, a 911 call came in from the house. The caller, who turned out to be Joseph Burks, said he had been injured in a knife attack. Police arrived at the scene and found the young man standing in the driveway, bleeding. He told them he had stabbed his mother and believed she was in need of medical care. Police went inside the house and found Angela Burks lying on the floor, unconscious. She had been stabbed more than 20 times in the head, neck and throat. Angela Burks was transported to a nearby trauma center, where she was pronounced dead. Joseph Burks was taken to a hospital for his wounds and arrested for her murder. The following year, he was convicted and sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. During the trial, Joseph Burks claimed he had acted in self-defense, but Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey said that the man watched his mother die, cleaned up, and then made up the story that she attacked him and he had to defend himself. Joseph Burks had lived his whole life with his mother, according to testimony from the trial. According to a Star-News article, “His grandmother, Josephine Van Atta, said her grandson was not working and did not pay rent. She said he hurt his back and got pain medications. Emergency room medical bills were found scattered in his room. ‘She was afraid he might hurt her,’ said Van Atta. ‘She was afraid if something happened to her, he would blame it on someone else.’”

Burks’ attorneys promptly appealed the conviction, arguing that under a new state law, he should have been considered eligible for placement in a mental health program. But in January 2020, a trio justices from California’s Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld the conviction, noting that the law had subsequently been amended to exclude those convicted of murder and other violent felonies.

7405 Via Rivera, Torrey Highlands

Murdered: Two victims, August 2019

This four-bedroom, three-bath home in the Torrey Highlands neighborhood is located just south of State Route 56, about midway between Interstates 5 and 15. It’s part of a high-end tract of imposing two-story homes west of Rancho Peñasquitos that were built in the early 2000s on 1134 acres of land that had previously been used for agriculture. The home is not on the market, but Redfin estimates its value at $966,000. Until August 16, 2019, 7405 Via Rivera was home to a middle-age couple and their adult son: Yi Cheng, 60, a manager in the engineering department of Qualcomm; his wife, Xiaoqun Fang, 58, who had once worked at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies; and the couple’s 30-year-old son, Fang Cheng.

Early on the morning of Friday, August 16, police responded to a call about a person jumping from the Eastgate Mall overpass that crosses Interstate 805. They found the body of Fang Cheng on the freeway, beneath the bridge. The next evening, Fang Cheng’s parents were expected to arrive in San Francisco, but they never showed. Concerned family members called the police, who went out to the house around 10 pm. “Upon arriving at the location, officers attempted to make contact at the door, then by telephone, with no success,” according to a San Diego Police Department news release. “The officers looked through a rear window and saw the body of a person lying on the living room floor. This prompted the officers to force entry into the residence. Once inside, officers discovered the bodies of an Asian male and female in their 50s with trauma to the upper body. Both were pronounced deceased at the scene. No one else was located inside the residence.” Investigators later said they believed Fang Cheng killed his parents before killing himself in the fatal jump off the Eastgate Mall bridge.

Once the three were identified, there were no further news reports on the case, nor has the San Diego Police Department issued any updates.

162 Parkcreek Court, Skyline

Murdered: Three victims, May 2011

A typical 1970s tract house, the most prominent feature of this three-bedroom, two-bath ranch-style home is its two-car garage. But whatever it lacks in curb appeal, it makes up for in the back. Situated on a large lot, measuring more than a third of an acre, on a quiet residential cul-de-sac, 162 Parkcreek Court boasts a huge backyard with a nice-sized pool. The home is located in the Bay Terraces neighborhood of Southeast San Diego, a hilly, urban tract developed in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. The neighborhood is largely Filipino, though there is a sizeable Latino population as well.

The home hasn’t been sold since 2004; that was seven years before all four members of the Pimienta family were killed there in a murder-suicide. Alfredo Pimienta, 44, had rented the home in 2009 for his family, consisting of 37-year-old wife Georgina and daughters Priscilla, 17 and Emily, 9. Alfredo drove a tow truck for a living. A relative who had stopped by the house to visit the family early on the morning of Tuesday, May 24, 2011 spotted two of the family members’ bodies in the backyard pool and called the police. Patrol officers subsequently found Alfredo Pimienta and his two daughters dead in the pool, while the body of Georgina Pimienta was found in a bathtub inside the house.

All four appeared to have drowned, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department told the media. The San Diego Union-Tribune later reported that two suicide notes from both the father and the mother had been recovered, and that Alfredo was the last to die. He reportedly drowned his family members one by one, and then strapped a heavy object onto himself and jumped into the pool next to his two lifeless daughters.

Sources told NBC Channel 7 that Alfredo had financial and marital problems, and was still haunted by the death of his son more than a decade earlier. Accoridng to a Channel 7 story that ran the day after the bodies were discovered, “Neighbors and friends said nothing seemed amiss with the couple...Priscilla Pimienta was preparing for college. She was to graduate [the following] month from San Diego’s High Tech High School.” Classmate Alex Jasmund told the TV station that he, Priscilla and two other friends had gone to a nearby movie theater the Monday before the murders to see the 3-D vampire-hunting movie Priest. “Priscilla met with friends for frozen yogurt after the film to plan for Saturday’s prom, including details like ordering a limousine and having a party with about 20 classmates,” the Channel 7 report said.

4176 Ashford Street, Clairemont

Murdered: One victim, April 2019

This modest three-bedroom, two-bath home is in one of Clairemont’s older tracts, south and east of where I-805 meets Balboa Avenue. The homes along this curvy street are similarly styled: single-story, with protruding garages topped with gabled roofs. This particular home has been upgraded since it was built in 1961; there is stone siding along the front wall and a sturdy concrete-block-and-wrought-iron fence between it and the street. The home is located directly across the street from Lindbergh Neighborhood Park, and last sold for $360,000 in January 2008. Its current value, according to Redfin, is $746,000.

Randy Taing, the 58-year-old owner of the popular Rose Donuts shop in Linda Vista, lived and was murdered in the home. Shortly before noon on April 5, 2019, police received a 911 call from Taing’s son, who said his father had called him at work and said he had been robbed. The son drove to the house and found his father gravely injured. By the time police arrived, the senior Taing was unconscious. He was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he died after three days in the intensive care unit.

A year later, the local media reported that police were still looking for suspects. Detectives said Taing was alone in the home when it was broken into, and that a safe had been taken. It wasn’t until this past May that a suspect was arrested: a 34-year-old Los Angeles resident named Keon Wilson. San Diego police lieutenant Andra Brown told the City News Service, “Over the past two years, homicide detectives conducted a thorough investigation and identified a suspect. During the course of the investigation, detectives learned that the suspect was also (allegedly) responsible for residential burglaries in Carlsbad and Poway. San Diego police detectives worked in conjunction with those investigating agencies to identify cases, locate evidence and interview witnesses.”

Wilson was booked into Los Angeles County jail pending transfer to the San Diego area to stand trial for the homicide and burglaries. On June 8, he pleaded not guilty to murder, burglary and grand theft charges.

2350 Juan Street, Old Town

Murdered: One victim, November 2018

This three-bedroom, two-bath home high up on Juan Street is just a few blocks up a steep hill from Old Town State Historic Park, one of San Diego’s most bustling tourist attractions. It’s a neighborhood where several original homes have been torn down and replaced with garish “McMansions,” including two directly across the street. The home at 2350 Juan Street is in impeccable condition, a classic ranch-style home with white walls and copper-colored storm shutters; the driveway curves around a small planter holding three birds of paradise plants, and then past a pair of California junipers. Valued this summer at more than $1.6 million, the home has been the longtime residence of the Peck family, the patriarch of which, Richard Landis Peck, is a former deputy San Diego City Attorney.

By the fall of 2018, Peck, 92 and long retired, was living in the house with just his 51-year-old son, Robert. On the evening of November 14, 2018, the senior Peck walked over to a neighbor’s house and told her he had just shot his son. Police were called and when they arrived they found Robert dead with a bullet wound to his head. Peck was arrested and tried for murder, but wound up pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to just three years of probation and ordered to stay in his home except for necessary errands like grocery shopping and religious services.

Why the light sentence? Peck said he shot his son due to abusive behavior, a charge corroborated by family and friends. Robert “Robbie” Peck had moved in with his dad about three months before his death, according to news reports. He was going through a divorce and could no longer stay in his own home. During those three months, Peck’s attorney said, the nonagenarian feared for his safety and twice called police, who told him they didn’t want to get involved in a family matter.

According to a City News Service report, “abusive acts dictated by the court included Robert Peck shoving a rag soaked in dog’s urine into his father’s face, throwing objects at him, and disabling his father’s phone. He also told his father that he “was almost dead, that he had no purpose to live” and that he “needed to die of natural causes so (Robert) could inherit his money,” according to the judge in the case, San Diego County Superior Court Judge Kathleen M. Lewis. The day of the shooting, Robert Peck smashed his father’s telephone and told him, “I’m going to see you again’’ as he went off to bed, Peck’s attorney said — again, according to the City News Service report. “The attorney said the most assistance Peck was able to receive was a 72-hour psychiatric hold on his son, after which he immediately returned to Peck’s home and the abuse continued, prompting another call to authorities just a week later,” according to the report.

Judge Lewis described Robert Peck as an “extreme alcoholic” who had a .39 blood alcohol content at the time of his death. She said she agreed to probation instead of prison time because of the abuse, as well as the senior Peck’s frail physical condition and recent suffering of broken hips and heart attacks. Robert Peck’s estranged wife and teenage son subsequently filed a wrongful death suit against the elder Peck, and in December 2019, they were awarded $9.5 million.


Dr. Randall Bell, a real estate appraiser, said, “I’ve seen murder properties sell at full value, generally smaller, less expensive homes, and I’ve seen properties where nobody will touch it, at least not for a considerable amount of time.”

There is a certain amount of morbid fascination with murder houses – which explains the “pointing and gawking” that Dr. Randall Bell says often is directed toward homes in which brutal slayings occurred. The first season of the popular TV series American Horror Story is called “Murder House,” after a stately red-brick mansion where a number of gruesome murders have occurred over the years. A new family moves in, unaware that the ghosts of the home’s former residents, both killers and victims, still haunt the house. Things don’t end well.

Currently, the Roku streaming channel is home to a new series of short-form videos called Murder House Flip, a twist on home renovation shows in which each home that gets a makeover was once the site of a gruesome murder. Hosted by designers Mikel Welch and Joelle Uzyel, each episode focuses on a single home and is shown in three parts, each no more than six minutes in length. According to a May 2021 story in House Beautiful, the series has been “well received” by fans. “In the first episode, you can watch Welch and Uzyel renovate a home where seven murders took place,” the article noted. “And if you make it to the finale, you’re in for a treat as they tackle the home where former child star Judith Barsi and her mother were murdered. While these homes all had horrific histories, there is always a happy ending as Welch and Uzyel use design to create a brighter and better space for these families to heal in.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

San Diego in books - first Datsun dealer to sell 100 cars in a month, Bob Woodward on Belushi

La Jolla's historian, Edmund Wilson on the Hotel del Coronado
Next Article

Waste and Covid-19 missteps plague CoreCivic's border lockup

"We determined ICE paid more than $22 million for unused bed space"
Comments
1

True crime 101. A fascinating read indeed! And a reminder to never live in a home where someone was murdered. Ghosts at the dinner table is not my style.

Aug. 18, 2021

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close