Petaluma lawyer witnessed murder-suicide shootings
Published: Friday, April 20, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 20, 2012 at 9:29 p.m.
A Petaluma divorce lawyer said he heard yelling outside his Keller Street office before he ran out in time to see his client gunned down by her estranged husband.
Attorney Jeffrey Zimmerman said Friday that after Kevin Conover, 41, shot Meadow Elementary School teacher Kim Conover, 43, the man held him in a “cold stare” before turning the gun on himself.
“It was appalling,” said Zimmerman, who watched Sunday's murder-suicide from the sidewalk about 25 feet away. “His eyes and mine were focused on each other when he put the gun to his right temple.”
It all happened around 2 p.m. after Zimmerman met with Kim Conover to prepare additional paperwork for her divorce.
Conover had complained of abuse dating back to before the couple was married in June 2010. She asked police for an emergency protective order about a week before the shooting. It was denied by a judge.
After meeting with her lawyer Sunday afternoon, Conover, a mother of four, “smiled, shook my hand and walked out the door,” Zimmerman said.
The next thing he knew someone was yelling outside.
“I heard, ‘Let go of me,' or something like that,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman looked out a window and saw his client “grappling” with her husband. He ran down the stairs and onto the sidewalk and yelled at them to stop, he said.
That's when Kevin Conover took out a gun and shot her in the neck before shooting himself.
“My mind was screaming, ‘No, no,'” Zimmerman said.
He was struck by the way Conover stared at him as he pulled the trigger both times.
“Even before he shot her, there was a cold, cold stare,” Zimmerman said.
The lawyer said he didn't fear for his own safety. Instead, he tried to call 911, first on a cell phone and then from his office. As he looked out his window, he could see Kim Conover still breathing.
Police and ambulances arrived moments later, he said.
Both died that night at area hospitals.
Divorce files obtained from the court show at least one previous episode in which Kevin Conover brandished a gun. In December 2010, he took a pistol from a zippered pouch and threw it on the bed in an argument over sex.
Kim Conover said her husband told her to kill him.
More recently, she said Kevin Conover used a knife to pry open a bedroom door, grabbed her laptop and smashed it on the ground.
He fought with one of Kim Conover's two teenage daughters from a previous relationship, sent abusive emails and text messages and stalked his wife at a psychologist's office, according to the divorce filings.
She described a two-year pattern of intimidation and fighting that often left her with bruises and abrasions.
Last June, after Kevin Conover locked his wife outside of their Searles Way house in her underwear, police issued a warrant for his arrest.
But Kim Conover recanted her story two days later, according to her divorce filing. Police sent the case to the district attorney but prosecutors didn't charge him, she said in the filing.
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