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FACING THE MUSIC

The long-running dispute about loud music is finally over at the dusty trailer park on Grand Avenue. Except for one detail: What exactly was the music that triggered 93-year-old Ed Mazy's murderous rage?

Glendale police say they aren't sure what Francine Ritter and Al Centracchio were blasting through the trailer park at 4 a.m. on November 10 just before Ed Mazy stepped outside and blasted them to death with a .22-caliber handgun.

A radio in Ritter's trailer was tuned to an easy-listening station, but her turntable furnished a more macabre clue: On it, says Ritter's 14-year-old son, was a special-effects album titled Sounds to Make You Shiver. The boy adds: "And the volume was all the way up, too."

It might not have mattered what was on the turntable. Ed Mazy confessed to police that he knew he was going to shoot his neighbors "sometime or later." And the way he carried it out, according to his confession, is enough to make anybody shiver.

"I had the police here one hundred times, always at night," Mazy told Detective Chuck Jones. "I even told the police then that I'm going to get a gun and shoot her."

Shortly after the shootings, Ed Mazy sat down with Jones and explained what happened. The following is from police reports:

At 3 a.m. on November 10, Mazy called police to complain that Francine and Al were playing loud music--again. When police arrived, the music was turned down. Then, said Mazy, Francine "put her music back on real loud. That's why I went and got my gun."

Mazy walked outside to his yard. Did he intend to shoot her? "Yes, I did," Mazy said. "That bitch."

It was dark, and Mazy is legally blind, so he didn't know exactly how far away Francine was standing. "She was out there cussing me," Mazy said, "so I shot her." He told Jones: "Then I went around through my gate and went into her yard. As I did, I saw Al."

At least he thought he saw Al. "He was blurry to me," recalled Mazy. "I have bad eyesight. I said, `Are you Al?' He said, `Yes.' That's when I shot Al. I think I shot him twice."

Mazy told Detective Jones that he had purchased the gun "from some guy." It cost him $40. What kind was it? "I don't know," he replied. "I never had a gun in my life before now."

Mazy said he planned to shoot Francine Ritter--although not necessarily that night.

"I wanted to avoid it as long as I could," he told Jones. "I didn't want to spend too much time in jail."

He added, "I got old and decided to do it sometime or later. She had to pay for all the torture she put me through for all these years."

Jones asked Mazy if he was glad he shot them. "Yeah, but I wanted to wait a little longer," Mazy replied. "I wanted to enjoy my life a little longer before I went to jail. If I had got along a little more in my age and got sicker, it would have been a different story."

Mazy, Ritter and Centracchio lived in three adjacent trailers on a nameless lot in the 4500 block of Grand Avenue. Neighbors say the feud between Mazy and the two had escalated during the past two years.

Mazy reportedly threw breadcrumbs into Ritter's garden to attract birds to eat her seeds. And Ritter supposedly bragged about throwing meat spiked with glass into Mazy's yard in an attempt to hurt the old man's dog.

In July, Mazy complained that Centracchio, who was Ritter's boyfriend, had stolen his cane. That month, Glendale police cited Centracchio for a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. Neighbors describe the incident as a tussle between Centracchio and Mazy, with the old man's cane used as a weapon. Once police were called because neighbors complained that Mazy had fired shots into the air.

Ed Mazy is now in jail on murder charges, and Francine Ritter's estranged husband, Eldon Ritter, blames the Glendale police "for letting [the feud] go on so long." However, Mazy reportedly turned down numerous attempts by Glendale officials to mediate his dispute with Ritter and Centracchio.

Mazy's neighbors are sharply divided in their opinions. "He was all right," says Sandra Clemons, who recalls the day Mazy gave her son a toy train and a matchbox car. "He was just an old man. He never bothered me. I didn't think he would kill anyone."

However, Carlito Martil, who lives in a trailer next to Mazy's, says that he thinks the old man was not just grouchy, but also dangerous and that Mazy had threatened him with the gun. The dispute between Mazy and Ritter and Centracchio continued because the old man was "bossy," says Martil, who adds, "I guess he thought people should bow down to him."

But neighbor Leland Earls, who describes himself as a friend of Mazy's, says, "He felt helpless. When he moved there, that was going to be his last place and he was going to die there. That was his aim, but he didn't want to die tormented to death."

After he shot Ritter and Centracchio, Mazy recalled for police some of the torment he said he suffered: "Al had told me before to go fuck my mother, that son of a bitch. She called me a cocksucker before. They were always inside her house yelling out the windows at me. I didn't have a gun before."

Leland Earls recalls: "They said to him over and over, `You're not going to be here long.'"--

"I got old and decided to do it sometime or later.

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Ellen Grant