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Old 03-15-2008, 09:18 PM
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Complaint Over Swimming Dog Ends In Neighbors Death

I don't like animals in the water either, but thats just me!

property's pool left one man dead and another awaiting his fate today on murder charges.
After one too many complaints about his yellow Labrador, Grace, software consultant Craig S. Tomko, 38, snapped, head-butting and holding the neighbor, Meredith "Mac" McNair, 54, under water until he suffered a heart attack on July 4, 2006, Fulton County prosecutor Pete Johnson told jurors Thursday during closing arguments.
Jurors began deliberating that afternoon and could reach a verdict Friday.
Tomko, an Ohio native, testified this week, telling jurors he acted in self-defense against his burly dog-hating neighbor. He said he spent the Independence Day holiday playing golf, attending a barbecue and having a couple of beers with friends at McCrae's tavern in Midtown.
Tomko returned to his Piedmont Road place at the Dakota Condominiums and decided to let his dog have a swim in the fifth-floor pool. Tomko was tossing his pooch a tennis ball when he said McNair, a local handyman, stormed out to the pool around midnight and began yelling about the no-pet pool rule. more: http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/met...ge_tab_newstab
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:19 PM
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Prosecutors told jurors that the defendant attacked the victim because he had grown weary of the neighbor's complaints, which sometimes resulted in condo association fines. McNair had previously complained when Grace walked around unleashed, barked in the courtyard and urinated in the elevator.

So now you're a bad neighbor if you don't want a dog running loose, peeing in the elevator, and swimming in the pool? Sounds like a really nice condo, huh???

Just to be clear, the complaining neighbor is not the murderer here. It is the guy with the dog who killed the one who was complaining. <modsnip>.

Last edited by Salem; 10-03-2012 at 05:17 PM. Reason: No name calling, please.
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:33 PM
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found guilty

He was found guilty, which I think was the right decision. I love dogs but I don't blame the man for being upset at a dog swimming in the pool or peeing in the elevator. He had no right to cause the man's death.

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/met...cxntlid=inform
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:22 PM
kahskye kahskye is offline
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If this guy wanted to let his dog swim in a pool, then he should have bought his own house w/ a pool. He was living in a condo where dogs were prohibited from the pool, so he was in the wrong and had no right to murder the handyman. I agree, <modsnip>!

Last edited by Salem; 10-03-2012 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:37 PM
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SeekingJana SeekingJana is offline
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Originally Posted by kahskye View Post
If this guy wanted to let his dog swim in a pool, then he should have bought his own house w/ a pool. He was living in a condo where dogs were prohibited from the pool, so he was in the wrong and had no right to murder the handyman. I agree, what a loser!
I agree. Some dogs love to swim, but they should have their OWN place to do it, not a communal pool.
BTW, I won't go in community type pools due to the baby diaper poop, the lack of stringent testing by the pool guy, and usually, under or over chlorination, both of which can cause their own set of problems.

The complaining guy should have let the police deal with the nut with the dog though. There's no sense in confronting <modsnip>.
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Last edited by Salem; 10-03-2012 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:16 PM
crypto6 crypto6 is offline
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Originally Posted by angelmom View Post
Prosecutors told jurors that the defendant attacked the victim because he had grown weary of the neighbor's complaints, which sometimes resulted in condo association fines. McNair had previously complained when Grace walked around unleashed, barked in the courtyard and urinated in the elevator.

So now you're a bad neighbor if you don't want a dog running loose, peeing in the elevator, and swimming in the pool? Sounds like a really nice condo, huh???

Just to be clear, the complaining neighbor is not the murderer here. It is the guy with the dog who killed the one who was complaining. <modsnip>.
No, you’re a bad neighbor if you terrorize the condo (a trained psychologist was afraid of the “handyman”, and he had a history of violence toward animals), assault neighbors’ dogs, and threaten your neighbors. When Tomko attempted to rescue his dog (his right), he was met with potential deadly force to which he responded appropriately. Note the bias or the Urinal/Constipation newspaper stating that Tomko held McNiar under the water until he had a heart attack. Did Tomko have an EKG hooked up to the guy?? How did he know what was happening as he tried to defend himself? It’s McNair’s fault he’s <modsnip> and if his heart’s bad maybe he shouldn’t try to physically intimidate those around him, since sooner or later someone’s gonna stand up to him and leave him on a slab, <modsnip>. The police are there to solve these problems, but bullies like McNair don't call them. If someone tries to drown your dog are you going to stand by, regardless of whether you are in the wrong? Are you going to let the bully kill you when you try to intervene because your dog wrongly swam in the pool?

This verdict is so wrong on so many levels…..

Crypto6

Last edited by Salem; 10-03-2012 at 05:20 PM.
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  #7  
Old 03-16-2008, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crypto6 View Post
No, you’re a bad neighbor if you terrorize the condo (a trained psychologist was afraid of the “handyman”, and he had a history of violence toward animals), assault neighbors’ dogs, and threaten your neighbors. When Tomko attempted to rescue his dog (his right), he was met with potential deadly force to which he responded appropriately. Note the bias or the Urinal/Constipation newspaper stating that Tomko held McNiar under the water until he had a heart attack. Did Tomko have an EKG hooked up to the guy?? How did he know what was happening as he tried to defend himself? It’s McNair’s fault he’s <modsnip> and if his heart’s bad maybe he shouldn’t try to physically intimidate those around him, since sooner or later someone’s gonna stand up to him and leave him on a slab, <modsnip>. The police are there to solve these problems, but bullies like McNair don't call them. If someone tries to drown your dog are you going to stand by, regardless of whether you are in the wrong? Are you going to let the bully kill you when you try to intervene because your dog wrongly swam in the pool?

This verdict is so wrong on so many levels…..

Crypto6
I've gone round and round with this story, crypto. The murder verdict seems unjust. The involuntary manslaughter verdict, I can see. I think the veridct as it stands will get appealed and reduced - or the whole thing will be retried. Tomko may well plead in the middle of all that.

Tomko was not a good neighbor by letting his dog repeatedly swim in the pool. McNair was an angry person who didn't care much for animals and tried to bully people. The way I see it, both parties share real culpability in this situation that escalated into the death of one of them.

I don't for a second think Tomko meant to kill McNair - I think the fury of both men ended tragically. Tomko does need to pay a price for his bad choices. McNair has already paid his.

Last edited by Salem; 10-03-2012 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by southcitymom View Post
I've gone round and round with this story, crypto. The murder verdict seems unjust. The involuntary manslaughter verdict, I can see. I think the veridct as it stands will get appealed and reduced - or the whole thing will be retried. Tomko may well plead in the middle of all that.

Tomko was not a good neighbor by letting his dog repeatedly swim in the pool. McNair was an angry person who didn't care much for animals and tried to bully people. The way I see it, both parties share real culpability in this situation that escalated into the death of one of them.

I don't for a second think Tomko meant to kill McNair - I think the fury of both men ended tragically. Tomko does need to pay a price for his bad choices. McNair has already paid his.
Good to hear from you, SCM.

I too wrestle with these "self defense" cases, esp when one participant far outweighs or outmuscles the other. Probably shouldn't second guess the jury, but I don't see any way other than physical confrontation if someone is drowning your dog. Given McNair's known temper and size advantage, any force he used around water (considering he's in the middle of a drowning already) would have to be interpreted as deadly. Unfortunately, in GA there is a duty to retreat before using retaliatory deadly force (Thank God for the Davy Crockett types; TN, TX and FL which have no such provisions requiring running away), which may figure in this case somehow. I'd still have to give Tomko the benefit of the doubt, a benefit which he may have squandered during the trial.

We talk about appeals, overturns etc, but this guy's life is in ruins in the forseeable future because he tried to save his dog from a physical bully; that's just not right.

Crypto6
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by crypto6 View Post
Good to hear from you, SCM.

I too wrestle with these "self defense" cases, esp when one participant far outweighs or outmuscles the other. Probably shouldn't second guess the jury, but I don't see any way other than physical confrontation if someone is drowning your dog. Given McNair's known temper and size advantage, any force he used around water (considering he's in the middle of a drowning already) would have to be interpreted as deadly. Unfortunately, in GA there is a duty to retreat before using retaliatory deadly force (Thank God for the Davy Crockett types; TN, TX and FL which have no such provisions requiring running away), which may figure in this case somehow. I'd still have to give Tomko the benefit of the doubt, a benefit which he may have squandered during the trial.

We talk about appeals, overturns etc, but this guy's life is in ruins in the forseeable future because he tried to save his dog from a physical bully; that's just not right.

Crypto6
Always good to see you, Crypto!

I have followed this trial as it progressed and, based on what I have been reading, I was surprised at the verdict. I too hate to second guess a jury - they are privy to lots of things we aren't - but I'm with you - what do you do if someone is trying to kill your dog? I believe that most reasonable people would do what they could to save their animal.

I'm just not sure justice has been well-served here. I will be interested to see what the next legal step is, but - as ou point out - Tomko's life in the meantime is in shambles.
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crypto6 View Post
Good to hear from you, SCM.

I too wrestle with these "self defense" cases, esp when one participant far outweighs or outmuscles the other. Probably shouldn't second guess the jury, but I don't see any way other than physical confrontation if someone is drowning your dog. Given McNair's known temper and size advantage, any force he used around water (considering he's in the middle of a drowning already) would have to be interpreted as deadly. Unfortunately, in GA there is a duty to retreat before using retaliatory deadly force (Thank God for the Davy Crockett types; TN, TX and FL which have no such provisions requiring running away), which may figure in this case somehow. I'd still have to give Tomko the benefit of the doubt, a benefit which he may have squandered during the trial.

We talk about appeals, overturns etc, but this guy's life is in ruins in the forseeable future because he tried to save his dog from a physical bully; that's just not right.

Crypto6
just remember that the only evidence we have that the man attacked the dog is the killers word. the same killer that fled the scene as the body floated in the pool.
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  #11  
Old 03-16-2008, 10:34 PM
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just remember that the only evidence we have that the man attacked the dog is the killers word. the same killer that fled the scene as the body floated in the pool.
True - but two other people described incidents wherein this handyman was physically aggressive with/attacked their animals - therefore, it's not such a leap to believe he attacked Tomko's.
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:27 PM
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Tomko spent the 4th of july golfing and drinking, and when he returned home, instead of taking his dog out for a walk, he took the dog, (who was known to piss in the elevators), up to the 5th floor indoor pool to swim. Besides breaking all the condo rules, it is repulsive to let a big dog swim in an indoor pool. Tomko strikes me as a guy who thinks the rules don't apply to him.

When a neighbor complained about the dog in the pool, Tomko drowned the man and then ran away, leaving his neighbor floating dead in the pool.

Tomko only got five years for murdering the neighbor. Which will surely be appealed, reduced, etc. Perhaps the rules really don't apply to guys like Tomko. But they should. I haven't seen anybody rush in calling Tomko a thug and hollering for the death penalty, as is done so frequently in so many other cases, <modsnip>?

Hmmm...

Last edited by Salem; 10-03-2012 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:20 AM
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If you read the follow-up article, it's actually the DA that is going to appeal the ruling. Apparently,
<snip>
Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter wiped out the aggravated assault charge and sentenced Tomko to five years in prison.

made some legal missteps in his actions and plans to file a motion to vacate the sentence and verdict.

Howard contends that the judge mistakenly believed that the murder verdict was no longer in place because he removed the lesser felony that was underneath it.

The county's top prosecutor also argued that the judge should not have allowed a jury to find Tomko guilty of both murder and involuntary manslaughter in the July 2006 death of his neighbor, Meredith "Mac" McNair, 54.

It should have been one or the other, Howard said.

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/met...cxntlid=inform
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Old 04-13-2008, 10:02 AM
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Hi Kkids, i take it you know him very personally as you can give us such details about the divorce and his personal behavior. How do you know him, did you work for him, date him?

I would do all i could to save my dog, also, if she was in immediate danger.
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Old 04-13-2008, 11:23 AM
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I stand by my position. This guy had been out drinking and obviously had a problem with his own anger and following the rules of society.

I, too, would do a lot (not anything...I wouldn't go up against someone with a gun, for example.) to save my dog's life, but once the dog was safe I certainly wouldn't feel the need to kill the other person. That's just crazy!

People defending this man make it sound like he had no choice if he wanted to save the dog than to kill this man. That's total BS. Once the dog was out of harm's way, then leave. Or call 911. Or throw the guy in the pool and tell him to leave you the hell alone. Whatever. But to hold someone under water until they die when both you and your dog are perfectly safe to walk away??? I don't think so.

I know I don't have it in me, and the people defending this murderer scare the hell out me. <modsnip>.
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Last edited by Salem; 10-03-2012 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:23 PM
crypto6 crypto6 is offline
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Thanks for the additional up-close info. I can better understand the jury’s actions in light of Craig’s unsavory character and his excellent physical condition.

My take: Personalities aside, Craig escalated the incident to assault when he struck at Mac and Mac escalated the situation to a potential deadly force situation when he attempted to drown the dog, the water being the deadly force situation. Was Craig legitimately fearful for his life as he rescued the dog in face of someone with known aggressive tendencies? Probably. But where you pointed out to me how big and strong Craig is makes me wonder if his counter attack on Mac was necessary once he’d freed his dog. Did Mac attack Craig, forcing him to defend himself, or was Craig’s final action unprovoked? Please note that I can’t find anywhere that Mac drowned; instead all I can find is a heart attack as COD (someone help if I’m wrong here), which further muddies the waters (couldn't resist).

So to me the question becomes did Craig have to hold Mac’s head under the water to escape in fear for his life, or was it uncontrollable anger on his part? Also Craig didn’t attempt to save Mac after he was become still in the water. Like someone else noted, Mac's not around to give his side. Tough decision for any jury.

Truly: My bias against bullies certainly showed in my first responses to this case; appears this is not so clear cut. <modsnip>.


BTW, since I left GA, the duty to retreat has been removed from GA law.

I enjoyed all the thoughtful interaction here.

C6

Last edited by Salem; 10-03-2012 at 05:29 PM. Reason: removed the quoted post since that post was deleted
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:29 PM
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LinasK LinasK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crypto6 View Post
No, you’re a bad neighbor if you terrorize the condo (a trained psychologist was afraid of the “handyman”, and he had a history of violence toward animals), assault neighbors’ dogs, and threaten your neighbors. When Tomko attempted to rescue his dog (his right), he was met with potential deadly force to which he responded appropriately. Note the bias or the Urinal/Constipation newspaper stating that Tomko held McNiar under the water until he had a heart attack. Did Tomko have an EKG hooked up to the guy?? How did he know what was happening as he tried to defend himself? It’s McNair’s fault <modsnip> and if his heart’s bad maybe he shouldn’t try to physically intimidate those around him, since sooner or later someone’s gonna stand up to him and leave him on a slab,<modsnip>. The police are there to solve these problems, but bullies like McNair don't call them. If someone tries to drown your dog are you going to stand by, regardless of whether you are in the wrong? Are you going to let the bully kill you when you try to intervene because your dog wrongly swam in the pool?

This verdict is so wrong on so many levels…..

Crypto6
Crypto, I think you're right. Although someone who owns a lab should have their own pool for the dog to swim in, labs are water dogs and love to swim, I have one.
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Last edited by Salem; 10-03-2012 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:00 PM
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With Craig already being stress, and Mac so willing to push his buttons, the situation escalated. I would be pissed off too if someone tried to drown my dog. Mac should have walked away or swam out of the other side of the pool. I think that once he tried to drown the dog, that pushed Craig over the edge. If Craig loved his dog enough to let it swim in the pool all the time (Labs love water) then it was like a child to him. Then during the struggle Mac has a heart attack, which couldn't have been predicted. This wasn't premeditated in any way so the charge seems fitting. Craig wasn't stalking Mac down to murder him, he didn't bring any weapons with him for it. If Mac had just walked away, he probably would still be alive. There are so many cases where people refuse to walk away and just instigate each other only to have a horrible outcome.

Last edited by chicoliving; 04-22-2008 at 08:39 PM. Reason: removed quoted post since that post was deleted
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:22 PM
crypto6 crypto6 is offline
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With Craig already being stress, and Mac so willing to push his buttons, the situation escalated. I would be pissed off too if someone tried to drown my dog. Mac should have walked away or swam out of the other side of the pool. I think that once he tried to drown the dog, that pushed Craig over the edge. If Craig loved his dog enough to let it swim in the pool all the time (Labs love water) then it was like a child to him. Then during the struggle Mac has a heart attack, which couldn't have been predicted. This wasn't premeditated in any way so the charge seems fitting. Craig wasn't stalking Mac down to murder him, he didn't bring any weapons with him for it. If Mac had just walked away, he probably would still be alive. There are so many cases where people refuse to walk away and just instigate each other only to have a horrible outcome.
Exactly. Where do you even start assessing blame with two hotheads like this?

It's like a Tarantino game of musical chairs; they both kept playing and when the music stopped the loser was still alive.

As an aside, I'm like you; attempting to drown my dog is like attempting to drown any other family member. It's guaranteed to evoke a protective response.

The smartest take on these interactions I heard was: If there is any way an interaction can escalate, ask yourself if it's worth someones life to get your two cents worth interjected into that confrontation, because once you start, the other side may not stop no matter what you do and someone's going to end up with a very short stick.

Again, thanks kkids for the extra info.

C6

Last edited by crypto6; 04-13-2008 at 09:27 PM. Reason: ETA more stuff
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Old 04-14-2008, 08:45 AM
curious1 curious1 is offline
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I am sorry, but if the guy tried to drown a dog to get back at the owner and if he did utter the snarky 'How do you like that' while doing it then I can honestly say I am not sorry the guy is dead. Did he deserve it? No. Should the other <modsnip> be punished? Yes. But I am not going to waste any sympathy on someone who takes their anger out on an animal.

Last edited by Salem; 10-03-2012 at 05:33 PM.
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