Aug. 31, 2012
A neighbor and friend of Doris Penico, the woman killed in an Alamo gated community earlier this week, says Penico was a wonderful friend but seemed depressed over the past couple of months.
The neighbor asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation.
"I'm very shaken by this," the neighbor said. "I just heard on the news last night. I can't believe it."
Police said Penico, 59, was critically injured Monday when a neighbor, Michael Littman, first got into a fight with Penico's husband and then struck down Doris Penico, who hit her head on the cement.
Penico was taken to John Muir Hospital, where she later died.
Littman was arrested at his home on Thursday and is awaiting arraignment.
The neighbor said she and Penico were friendly. They went on walks together and talked about gardening and life.
But over the past couple of months, the neighbor said she noticed a change in Penico's demeanor.
"She seemed to be under a lot of stress," the neighbor said. "She would knock on my door and come in and talk about how she felt like a hostage in her own home."
Police said the fight between the Penicos and Littman started over an on-going property dispute.
"She would just say that there's always something going on with the neighbor," the neighbor said. "I don't know the other people, so I don't know who was right or wrong."
Penico's friend said she was saddened by some of the comments on Patch regarding Penico's death. Some comments stated that the Penicos were troublesome neighbors and Doris' death did not bother them.
"It's kind of scary knowing that these are our neighbors," she said. "It's really heart-breaking what has happened and my heart goes out to both families."
She added that Penico always cared about beautifying the community and was a former member of the local homeowners association.
Calls to Doris Penico's husband were not immediately returned.