Controversial memorial for man who killed wife, self
TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - Colonia Verde is a beautifully quiet little community tucked away on Tucson's east side. Though this weekend, the controversy surrounding Colonia Verde is anything but beautiful and quiet.
A memorial service for a long-time employee is planned Sunday afternoon at the Colonia Verde Clubhouse. That in itself isn't the problem. What is...is that the man for whom the service is being held--shot and killed his wife before killing himself.
For 17 years, Jeffrey Jester was a man many people knew and loved in the Colonia Verde community. Affectionately known as JJ, he was a working property manager who knew just about everybody in the community on a first-name basis.
"He never knew what it meant to say no to a homeowner. He just never did," says long-time Colonia Verde resident Phyllis Seltzer. "He was the biggest help to every homeowner."
But on June 15th this year, inside the east side home JJ shared with his wife Renie, Jester murdered wife before turning the gun on himself.
In the month since, we've learned Jester was experiencing great deal of anxiety.
"So the opposite of who he was, so the opposite," says Seltzer.
We're told his wife had cancer and JJ himself was battling clinical depression.
"I kept saying, 'JJ...are you getting help for the anxiety?' Seltzer says, recalling one of her last conversations with Jester.
'Well they're giving me something, but whatever they're giving me--it's making me worse'--Seltzer said, characterizing JJ's respond. "And he was telling this to a lot of people."
Then, early one Wednesday in June, Jester called the police saying that shots had been fired inside his home.
His wife was dead.
And he would be too in just a matter of moments.
"This tragedy is being overlooked and we're not doing any good or attempting to do any good."
That's Kent Driesbock, a Colonia Verde property owner who knew Jester for many years.
Like most people, Driesbock says Jester was incredibly helpful and beloved by many.
But he takes issue with the memorial being held Sunday in Jester's memory.
"They're honoring his service to the community which I can understand," Driesbock says. "But I think they're not really looking at the big issue that this was a murder suicide and something can be done better."
Something like calling attention to Jester's deteriorating condition.
Even his biggest supporters say he needed help.
"I really really feel like we all could do more, myself included," Seltzer says, tears welling in her eyes.
But nobody stepped in.
Nobody said anything.
"I hope people realize that if we intervene we might make a difference," Driesbock says. "We always can't, but hopefully we can if we decide to intervene at some point."
All controversy aside, the memorial will in fact take place this weekend, Sunday afternoon starting at 3 PM. It's open to all Colonia Verde residents who'd like to attend.
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