POWAY, Calif - Relatives of a Poway couple killed in their home Easter Sunday by a neighbor say they blame inaction by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office for the deaths.
Mitch Cunnyngham, 58, and his 56-year-old wife Diane were shot to death about 6 p.m. Sunday by Robert Reed, who was subsequently shot to death by sheriff's deputies.
The Cunnyngham-Reed feud dated back 10 years and included restraining orders on both sides and a previous fight in which the Cunnynghams' son was stabbed, according to family members, who spoke with local news outlets Tuesday.
Following the stabbing, Reed was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon but the District Attorney's Office dropped the charge, citing a conflict of evidence, the family said.
Don Cunnynham, Mitch's brother, told reporters Tuesday the family has hired a lawyer to consider suing the county.
Mitch Cunnyngham responded to the dropped charges in 2008 by writing to lead prosecutor, Michael Zachry, "By doing this you have emboldened Mr. Reed,'' Don Cunnynham said.
"What's next? Who's next, and what will be the result," Mitch Cunnyham wrote.
Cunnynhgam's letter said that Reed had access to many weapons and that Zachry and the DA's Office would be responsible for whatever Reed did next.
A spokesman for the District Attorney's office referred reporters to a statement released Monday and said that would be the office's only response to the Cunnynhgam's criticisms. That statement said:
"Charges against Robert Reed were dismissed in 2008 after conflicting evidence came to light. ... It is our ethical duty as prosecutors to continually evaluate the strength of our cases and dismiss charges when appropriate."
The victims' son, David Cunnynham, told reporters Tuesday that his parents were so concerned about Reed that they installed surveillance cameras outside their home. He also said that he, his wife and 8-year-old daughter would also be dead had they not hid in a bathroom when Reed barged into the family home and opened fire.