Neighbor jailed in Yuba City 94-year-old woman's murder
Neighbor Colleen Walker already misses chatting with her friend, Leola "Dodie" Shreves.
Walker was stunned by Shreves' death and shocked when police arrested another neighbor and accused him of murdering the 94-year-old Shreves.
"I just can't imagine how anybody could do such a thing to Dodie," Walker said Saturday.
Walker and Sherves had discussed Alexander several times, Walker said.
"She told me she worried the boy was just sitting at home all the time and never came outside, at least not much," Walker recalled. "I think she felt bad for him."
Other neighbors also described Alexander as a solitary figure who seldom came outside, except the day Sherves' body was discovered.
"He was sitting outside all day, drinking a soda and laughing," neighbor Glenda Souja said.
Walker and Shreves had been friends and neighbors since 1970.
"She was so much fun to be with, we were always over at Dodie's," Walker said.
Neighbors described Shreves as an excellent cook and baker who loved to read books on history. She adored her many grandchildren and never missed a chance to see them.
"At 94, and she was still so on the ball," Souja said. "She was still driving and so sharp."
— Rob Parsons
A next-door neighbor, who referred to homicide victim Leola "Dodie" Shreves as "a real nice lady" is behind bars today, accused of killing the 94-year-old woman in her home.
Michael Patrick Alexander, 20, was booked into the Sutter County Jail on Saturday without bail on suspicion of murder, torture, aggravated mayhem, robbery and burglary.
"This was a savage attack that led to her death," police spokeswoman Shawna Pavey said.
Shreves was found dead Wednesday in her home at 546 Park Ave. in Yuba City. Neighbor Colleen Walker said she had not seen Shreves for nearly a week.
Police believe Alexander and Shreves had some type of conversation over the weekend, and then he broke into her house late at night and confronted her.
Pavey said Shreves fought back.
"She did every thing she could to protect herself," Pavey said.
Alexander lives next door with his mother and older sister.
In a brief, doorstep interview Saturday afternoon, Alexander's mother, Audra, defended her son.
"He's innocent," his mother said. "He didn't do it, and they need to look for the real person who did."
Shreves' home was dark and empty Saturday afternoon. A family member contacted by phone declined comment.
Officers served a search warrant just after 11 p.m. Friday at Alexander's house at 540 Park Ave.
Pavey said investigators found evidence linking Alexander to the homicide, but declined to elaborate.
Alexander spoke with the Appeal-Democrat on Wednesday and Thursday. His home was one of three that police roped off on Wednesday during the early hours of the investigation.
"It just feels like it's kind of unsafe here, now," Alexander said Thursday. "Just knowing that someone's out there that could like killing people."
As police investigated the homicide scene on Wednesday, Alexander was seen sitting cross-legged on his front porch next door, watching the officers work in the rain.
A blood trail on the sidewalk led from the victim's home, past Alexander's house.
Alexander told the Appeal-Democrat he had lived next door to Shreves the last four years and said nothing like this had ever happened in the normally quiet neighborhood.
During the interview Wednesday, Alexander was asked if he knew what happened to his neighbor. He replied, "She was murdered yesterday."
When asked how he knew, Alexander paused before answering, "The neighbors said that," and pointed across the street.
He said he did not know the woman's name, but said he would occasionally chat with her.
"I just know she was a real nice lady," Alexander said. "She'd always say what a nice day it was."
Investigators believe part of Alexander's motive was financial, but declined to discuss other motives.
"We believe he had every intention of confronting the victim," Pavey said. "We believe he did know she was (home) at the time of the break-in."
Citing the ongoing investigation, Pavey declined to comment on a murder weapon.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.om or 749-4785.