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Neighbors stunned by shooting in Pa.

August 09, 2000

Neighbors stunned by shooting in Pa.



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Neighbors of Eugene and Patricia Gardenhour said no one in their well-manicured, closely knit Eastland Road neighborhood ever had a reason to believe that the couple had a gun in their house.

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Shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to court records, Patricia Gardenhour, 67, allegedly shot her husband, Eugene, "several times in the head, face, neck and torso areas."

Eugene Gardenhour was flown to York Hospital in York, Pa., where he was listed in stable condition Wednesday night in the hospital's intensive care unit, a spokesman said. Gardenhour's condition had been upgraded from critical, the spokesman added.

Meanwhile, Patricia Gardenhour was being held in Franklin County Prison Wednesday without bail following her arraignment early Wednesday morning before Pentz. She was charged with attempted criminal homicide, two counts of aggravated assault and one of recklessly endangering by Washington Township Police.

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Pentz scheduled a preliminary hearing for Gardenhour for Aug. 17 at 10 a.m. As of Wednesday afternoon she did not have an attorney, he said.

The shooting allegedly occurred inside the Gardenhours' neatly kept stone house at 926 Eastland Road, according to court records.

Washington Township Police Officer Michael McGovern responded to a 911 call from William Spangler at 920 Eastland Road, the Gardenhours' next door neighbor, at 7:50 p.m. Tuesday, court records said.

When he arrived, McGovern found Eugene Gardenhour in Spangler's garage naked and bleeding from gunshot wounds to his head, face, neck and chest, according to court records. Gardenhour allegedly told police that his wife had shot him. The victim alleged that his wife thought he had been having an affair, according to court records.

Spangler told police that he heard what he thought were gunshots coming from next door. A few seconds later he saw Gardenhour running toward him through the hedge that separates their yards. He was naked and bleeding and asked Spangler to hide him. "Pat is crazy. She's trying to kill me," Gardenhour allegedly told Spangler, according to court records.

Spangler said he led Gardenhour to his garage and had him sit down on a plastic container.

A few moments later, according to court records, Patricia Gardenhour came into Spangler's yard and allegedly asked if she had killed her husband. Spangler allegedly told her she had not and to go back home, which she did, court records said.

By that time, more police had arrived at the Gardenhour house. They ordered Patricia Gardenhour to come outside and lie down on the ground, court records said.

When they asked her about the gun, she allegedly said she threw it into some bushes behind her house. A police search turned up a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver. It was found in a plastic bag that had been stuffed down into a bush, court records said.

R.B. and Martha Whitley had moved into their neat brick Cape Cod home on Mountain View Road 15 years ago when R.B. retired. Their neighborhood is one of changing demographics.

For years it was a haven for older, retired folks who had bought their homes years before, reared families then retired. Today new, younger families are moving into the homes as the older residents die off," Martha Whitley said.

The neighborhood has wide streets and well-kept homes on large, landscaped lawns. The first houses came to the Eastland neighborhood in the 1920s and 1930s but the it really began to develop in the years following World War II, the Whitleys said.

The Whitleys' house was built in 1952. "We're only the second owners," Martha Whitley said. The Gardenhour's house, a few doors away, is clearly visible from the Whitley's house. "They were here when we moved here," Martha Whitley said.

Martha Whitley said they saw Eugene Gardenhour more than his wife. "He was outside a lot on his riding mower. He took beautiful care of his yard," she said. "The last time I saw them together was at the country club. It must have been about two years ago. I was on the terrace having breakfast. He was playing golf and she was waiting for him. He was an avid golfer."

The Whitleys said Eugene Gardenhour was retired from Grove Worldwide.

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