ARDEN-- An ongoing dispute between neighbors that erupted into violence - with a man shooting a couple next door to death in their driveway - started over the use of a city-issued trash bin.
"You would think it would be something bigger than that - to kill two people in front of their son - but that's all it was," said Jerrell Jackson, who lives beside Robert and Genise Matheson on Birch Lane. "It's just a real sad situation. I feel bad for the son."
Police say Erwin Lynn Jarvis, 59, who lives on the other side of the Mathesons, gunned the couple down as they stood in their driveway late Monday afternoon. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
In a first appearance Tuesday morning in Buncombe County District Court, Judge Edwin Clontz asked Jarvis if he understood the charges against him.
"I do," the defendant said.
Clontz told Jarvis he could be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole if convicted of the charges.
The judge agreed to a request by Jarvis for court-appointed attorneys.
The defendant's next court date was set for Oct. 22.
City police detectives and Highway Patrol officers remained on the shooting scene in the quiet neighborhood off Sweeten Creek Road much of Tuesday. The two homes - the Mathesons lived at 147 Birch Lane and Jarvis at 145 Birch Lane - were cordoned off with crime scene tape. Detectives were searching the Mathesons' home, while Highway Patrol officers were in the yard mapping out the crime scene.
Jackson said he saw the beginning of the deadly confrontation as he was leaving his home shortly before the shootings happened to pick up his wife from work. Jarvis was walking his dogs on the street, and as he passed the Matheson's home Genise Matheson, who was in her front yard, held up a phone as if to photograph Jarvis.
"She held a camera phone toward the shooter, and he flipped her the bird," Jackson said. "I said to myself, there she goes pushing him again. It seemed like she would wait for him to come outside. It was like an obsession."
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