Official: Ariz. gunman targeted ex-wife, friends
Saturday, June 4, 2011
YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — A shooting spree in southwestern Arizona followed 73-year-old gunman Carey Hal Dyess’ bitter divorce and claimed the lives of his ex-wife and four people who supported her during the 2007 case, according to investigators and court records.
The six-hour rampage, which started around dawn Thursday in the small town of Wellton and extended west to Yuma, ended when Dyess pulled his car over and shot himself to death.
“He (Dyess) apparently didn’t agree with what had happened with the divorce, something that caused him to feel that his ex-wife as well as her friends were probably against him,” Leon Wilmot, chief deputy for the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday.
Wilmot identified three of the victims Friday as Dyess’ ex-wife Theresa Lorraine Sigurdson, 61; Henry Scott Finney, 76; and James P. Simpson, 75.
Authorities previously named one of the victims as prominent Yuma attorney Jerrold Shelley, who represented Sigurdson in the divorce. The fifth victim’s name was withheld pending notification of family.
The deputy said Dyess also wounded Sigurdson’s best friend, Linda Kay Clatone, 52. She was flown to Phoenix, where she remained hospitalized in critical condition.
Wilmot said the dead were all either acquaintances or friends of Sigurdson who “supported her during the course of the divorce.”
Court records show Dyess and Sigurdson went through a bitter divorce, arguing over money and access to their 10-acre property in Wellton that included a house, a guest house and hay fields. The two also made allegations of domestic violence against each other, and each obtained an order of protection against the other.
In one filing, Dyess claimed Sigurdson kicked in his door and brought Clatone and other friends to his home to harass him.
In 2007, Dyess filed a request for a protective order against Finney, whom he identified as Sigurdson’s boyfriend. Dyess said the two had trespassed on his property, and he claimed Finney slowly drove by his house every day to intimidate him.
A judicial officer rejected the request.
Dyess was listed in court records as a retiree who had a pension, collected Social Security and made extra money by training horses.
His friends saw no indication that he was planning an attack, Wilmot said.
Dyess lived in Kitsap, Wash., during the 1990s, and family members from an earlier marriage live in the area, the Kitsap Sun newspaper reported on its website Saturday.
Dyess’ eldest son David Dyess of Port Orchard, Wash., told the paper Friday that he and his family were shocked by the shootings.
“The entire family is upset about this, about the loss of him and his victims and victims’ families.” said David Dyess, who was described as estranged from his father.
The paper reported that David Dyess, his mother and siblings are trying to reconcile the man they knew and lost track of with the horrific news.
“I don’t know who he is,” David Dyess said. “I want answers, too.”
Authorities have found no notes left by Dyess, and haven’t determined the order in which the killings occurred. They only know when the deaths were reported, Wilmot said.
Officers received the first call around 5 a.m. about Clatone, who was shot at a home in Wellton, about 25 miles east of Yuma, Sheriff Ralph Ogden said.
The bodies of Sigurdson, Finney, Simpson and the unnamed victim were then found in other homes around Wellton between 8:20 and 9:45 a.m.
Dyess drove to Yuma and killed Shelley at his downtown law office at about 9:20 a.m., Ogden said.
He then drove back toward Wellton, pulled over and shot himself. His body was found inside a vehicle at 10:47 a.m.
Court records show Sigurdson and Dyess were married in Tombstone in May 2002 and filed for divorce in 2006.
Their divorce was approved in 2007. It was Dyess’ fifth, with the previous four divorces all in Washington state.
During the proceedings, Sigurdson alleged Dyess abused her, and she asked for and received an order of protection. The file contained no details of the incident.
Dyess also received an order of protection against Sigurdson, which barred her from going near his home. The order was later modified to give Sigurdson access to parts of the property.
The two eventually agreed on a property split that gave Sigurdson the couple’s home in Wellton once she bought out her former husband’s share.
A lawyer for Dyess filed a brief in October 2008 that said Dyess had not been paid more than a year after the divorce became final.
“Mr. Dyess is sick and believes (his ex-wife) is ‘holding out,’ waiting for him to die,” Yuma attorney Gregory Torok wrote in a court petition. The file shows the issue led to a final settlement two months later.
The attorney who represented Sigurdson in the divorce was killed on his last day of work.
Shelley was retiring and “literally was packing up his office” the day he was killed, Yuma attorney Amanda Taylor said.
Another Yuma attorney, Vida Florez, said she learned of the shooting after leaving court. She said a witness told her what happened inside Shelley’s office.
“They said the shooter came in and told the secretary to ‘Get out of here,”’ Florez said. “She did, and he shot Jerry Shelley, and he left.”
Shelley also was one of the lawyers representing three sets of brothers who sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson after accusing a priest of repeatedly raping them when they were children.
Josie Uriarte said she knew Sigurdson as a fellow business owner.
Uriarte ran a gym, while Sigurdson owned an upholstery business. Uriarte said she didn’t know anything about the woman’s personal life, but said the two used to share stories about running businesses when they’d bump into each other at the Post Office or a convenience store.
“Theresa was a very friendly, charismatic person,” Uriarte said.
Associated Press writers Mark Carlson and Amanda Lee Myers in Phoenix contributed to this report.
Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.
Please review our Policies and Procedures before registering or commenting