Tuesday, June 06, 2000

Neighbors' dispute leaves Mason man critical

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — A single punch thrown between neighbors in a parking dispute in an affluent subdivision has left a father of six fighting for his life and another man due to appear in court today.

        Gary Kretzer apparently was fed up that patrons of his neighbor Dennis Rock's home-based business were continually parking in front of his house on Kenwood Drive when they attended private baseball lessons there, police said.

        He confronted Mr. Rock in the street about 10:35 a.m. Saturday, and the argument turned to fisticuffs when Mr. Rock threw a punch, knocking Mr. Kretzer to the ground, a police report said.

        Mr. Kretzer, 38, an employee of Ford Motor Co., was knocked unconscious and stopped breathing after he struck his head on the pavement, according to reports.

        Rescue workers were performing CPR on Mr. Kretzer when police arrived. He was flown by Air Care helicopter to University Hospital, where he remained in critical condition on life support Monday.

        Police would not comment on the case, and it was unclear whether Mr. Kretzer's injuries were the result of a blow to the face or from hitting his head on the pavement.

        Mr. Rock — who, at 6-foot-4, stands about a half foot taller than Mr. Kretzer — suffered minor abrasions in the scuffle, the police report noted.

        The 45-year-old is charged with felonious assault and faces arraignment this morning in Mason Municipal Court.

        He was released from jail Saturday after his wife posted $25,000 cash bond. Mr. Rock could not be reached Monday, and no one answered the door at his Kenwood Drive residence.

        On Monday, the events of the past weekend weren't evident. Several residents said they knew both families, but no one wanted to talk about what happened.

        Pastor Sam Stover of Mason United Methodist Church, where the Kretzers are members, said Mr. Kretzer showed improvement Sunday and was able to talk to his wife, Kimberly. However, his condition worsened Monday.

        “They are giving him some stronger medicine, and they put a monitor in the brain to determine pressure,” the Rev. Mr. Stover said. “The brain is swollen in back where he hit the pavement. They need to get the swelling reduced.”

        Mason Prosecutor Robert Peeler said the charge would be upgraded if Mr. Kretzer dies.

        “Intent to kill isn't necessarily a requirement in a murder,” Mr. Peeler said. “It's the intent to do the act that causes the result.”

        Kevin Aldridge contributed to this report.


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