Update 9/25/2018: A Lubbock County grand jury returned a no-bill decision on felony criminal charges against James Stanley Renfro and Sonja Lee Renfro, the couple’s attorney said in a statement.
What in the world would lead to a married couple, ages 70 and 75 respectively, to have a shootout with their next-door-neighbor? EverythingLubbock.com uncovered at least one of the issues in court records.
James Stanley Renfro, 70, and Sonja Lee Renfro, 75, were booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center Tuesday evening for deadly conduct – a little more than 24 hours after police were first called to their home.
A police report listed their victim as Ray Delano, 46.
Court records from 2014 – 2016 describe an ongoing dispute between them. The Renfros sued Delano and Anita Evans and won.
The lawsuit said the Renfros purchased their property in the 9000 block of Avenue P in 1971.
“The Driveway is the only way to access [the Renfros] home, carport, car, horse stables, horse barn, and other structures. [Mr. and Mrs. Renfro] have continuously used the Driveway for that purpose for 43 years,” it said in 2014.
Evans purchased the property next door in 1978. Things were fine until July of 2014, according to the lawsuit.
The 2014 case went to trial in 2016, and a jury said Evans made a promise to “deed the driveway” to Mrs. Renfro. The jury awarded a “prescriptive easement” to Sonja Renfro. An easement is the right to use land for a limited purpose according to the jury verdict.
For whatever reason that was not enough to settle the dispute.
On Monday afternoon, a police report said Mrs. Renfro saw Delano repairing or “putting up” a fence. The police report said she hit Delano with a vehicle. He then fired shots into the windshield, according to the police report, and she returned fire.
Mr. Renfro heard the gunshots and came out of his house with a shotgun. More shots were fired. Delano was treated and released from a Lubbock hospital.
The Renfro’s were charged and arrested. They were released from jail on bond Wednesday afternoon, according to online jail records.
Related story: Older couple arrested for shooting incident in South Lubbock
Below is a portion of the lawsuit filed in 2014.
10. In 1971 Plaintiff Dr. Renfro purchased 9004 Avenue P, and the house and buildings thereon. The Driveway is the only way to access Plaintiff’s home, carport, car, house stables, horse barn, and other structures. Plaintiffs have continuously used the Driveway for that purpose for 43 years.
11. In 1978 Defendant Evans and her now-deceased husband purchased the property located at 9002 Avenue P. At that time the Renfros and their invitees continuously used the Driveway to access their home and other structures.
12. From the time the Evans purchased 9002 Ave. P to 1986 the Driveway served as an entrance and parking lot for Dr. Renfro’s veterinary clinic that was operated on Plaintiffs’ property.
13. Defendants and Defendants’ invitees, from the purchase date in 1978 until present day, did not use the Driveway.
14. In 1986 Defendant Evans and her late husband received a deed to the Driveway from Charles E. Smith. They paid nothing for it. Mr. Evans did not file the deed until 1996 when Dr. Renfro was in the hospital recovering from a horseback riding accident.
15. Defendant Evans was aware of Plaintiffs’ use of the Driveway and never objected to Plaintiffs’ use or questioned the right to do so.
16. Currently, Defendant Evans does not reside at 9002 Avenue P. Defendant’s daughter, Rita Rector, and her boyfriend, Defendant Ray Delano, reside there.
17. On or about July, 2014, Defendant Delano moved in to 9002 Avenue P and confronted Plaintiffs about their use of the Driveway. Defendant Delano demanded Plaintiffs no longer use the Driveway, and had Plaintiffs remove all of their personal property from it. Defendant Delano has begun building a fence that would land lock Plaintiffs’ property.
18. The Driveway is the Plaintiffs’ only access to their home, carport, barn, horse stables, and other structures located at 9004 Avenue P. To the north is 9002 Avenue P, to the west is an open field and to the east along Avenue P is a cinderblock fence with its only opening at the Driveway.
19. Plaintiffs approached Defendant Evans and asked her to deed the Driveway to the them. Defendant Evans orally agreed to do so. Plaintiffs, in reliance upon the oral agreement, had the 9004 Avenue P property, the 9002 Avenue P property, and the Driveway surveyed in preparation for the deed.
20. Shortly thereafter, Defendant Evans refused to deed the Driveway to Plaintiffs, expressing Defendant Delano’s interest in using the Driveway as part of an automotive-service business.
21. Defendant Delano has verbally threatened Plaintiffs if … [there is an] attempt to make any use of the Driveway.