He Killed a Woman Over Her Dog Peeing on The Lawn
Where are all of my responsible dog owners at?
I recently moved back to Canada to a small town of under 7,000 people and it’s been an interesting experience. I live in a neighbourhood with beautifully manicured lawns that retirees spend most of their days ensuring are absolutely meticulously groomed. On just about every corner, you’ll find a “no dog pooping on the lawn” sign. I get it — when you spend that much time ensuring your lawn is the greenest most attractive lawn as far as the eye can see, you don’t want a dog ruining it. But it still rubs me the wrong way.
Until I pass by three or four piles of dog poop during my 10-minute morning walk that hasn’t been cleaned up. I have a large Japanese Akita who has passive excrement. I can’t imagine leaving it behind for someone else to deal with, but not everyone is a responsible pet owner.
I’m getting to a point — I promise.
Last night there was a post on the local Facebook group by a woman who lives in my neighbourhood. She was complaining that the neighbour across the road has a large brown lab that likes to poop on her lawn — and the owner never bothers to clean it up. The comments on her post were a mix of “take her dog and drop it off at the SPCA next time” to “have some compassion, she’s a single mother of two!”
I think I fall somewhere in between — I have compassion the first or second time but after that… it’s game on. Though I might aggressively stare the owner down the next time her dog used my yard as a toilet and didn’t flush — I can’t imagine being so angry that I would do what Denver, Colorado man, Michael Close, did when he saw his neighbour’s dog defecating outside of his apartment last year.
21-year-old Isabella Thallas and her long-term boyfriend Darian Simon were outside with their dog in June of 2020. Things were really looking up for the couple. Isabella had just recently celebrated her birthday, she was in a very happy relationship and she was enjoying her studies at the Metro State University of Denver. She had a ton to look forward to — eventually one day she wanted to get married and have kids, maybe even with Darian. Things were becoming quite serious. They had moved in together — they had this puppy together, and things were moving quickly.
On this day, Isabella and Darian were encouraging their dog to hurry up and take a pee just outside of their apartment building. It’s unclear to me whether or not the patch of grass used was a designated dog pee area or not, but I would assume not. Michael happened to be watching them from his apartment window, and according to witnesses he shouted down at them, “Are you going to just yell at that dog or train it?”
Kind of a weird thing to say to a random stranger so Darian shouted back up to Michael to mind his own business. Apparently, this struck some sort of nerve and Michael left the window briefly to retrieve an AK-47 he just so happened to have in his possession. It would be later confirmed that he had stolen the weapon from a friend of his who was also a police officer. This is highly illegal in itself and I can’t understand how the officer didn’t know that his weapon was missing.
Then he rained bullets on both Isabella and her boyfriend. I don’t want to make this article about gun control, but people who can fly off the handle so quickly should never be entitled to handle a weapon — ever.
Sadly, Isabella died almost instantly after she was shot in the back. Her boyfriend managed to escape with only two bullet wounds and he would survive. When Michael was done shooting, he went back inside his apartment and called his ex-girlfriend to tell her what he had done. Actually — he said he had just killed two people, not knowing that Darian had survived. Then he went on the run, speeding away in his vehicle with the AK-47 and another gun.
Eventually, Michael Close was pulled over, arrested and charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder. His legal team is attempting to convince the courts that he was not in his right mind at the time of the shooting. He pleaded not guilty due to insanity — but the jury wasn’t buying it. In less than a day, he was found guilty on both counts and is now awaiting sentencing.
Michael blamed the mental break and ultimate murders on losing his job, a bad break up and dealing with the Covid pandemic. I don’t know what it is — but people seem to be acting crazier than normal. So stay safe and pick up your dog poop.
Isabella’s family has started a GoFundMe campaign to start a small dog park in her name — which I think is beautiful. If interested in donating, please visit the link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/bella-joy-memorial
About the author
Nikki Young is the host of the international true crime podcast, Serial Napper. Each episode features a different true crime story, told succinctly the way it happened. Serial Napper is available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.