Hillsdale County Homicides

By: Jessica Aspiras
By: Jessica Aspiras

Yellow crime tape still surrounds lot number 62 in Hillside Acres in Reading Township. The trailer was hit by a hail of bullets, one which struck a gas main and ignited a fire. Fortunately the family in that home wasn't injured. But across the street at lots 53 and 54, two out of three sisters were killed.

"The women had complained to the police but they said they couldn't do anything until he did something. Well he did something this time."

Barbara Patterson lives just a few doors away from where it all happened.

"I was eating my supper and heard the shots. And so I came out and saw Vi on the ground and went over to see if I could help her. But he came over with the gun so I just ran back here."

She says the victims, 61-year-old Viola Mae Morgan and 63-year-old Betty Annabelle Brown, were both sisters and neighbors. They had a long standing fued with the shooter Stephen Michael Moench age 54. Moench lived in trailer number 61 directly across from them.

"They got into a fight over her backing into his tree. And he didn't want anybody on his yard. He would just do anything against his neighbors to get them going, like throw stones at them and all kinds of stuff."

Friday evening around 5:30pm, the three sisters were outside talking when Moench took a rifle and began shooting at the women. After fatally wounding two, he turned his attention to trailer 62, next a vehicle, and then he fled. The Coldwater CIty Police apprehended Moench. And he's currently being held without bond at the Hillsdale County Jail on two counts of open murder and three counts of attempted murder.

Still it's no consolation for Patterson who watched her friend die alone.

"It's sad because I wanted to go over and help her and there's nothing I could do."

Moench is scheduled to appear before a judge by video arraignment on Monday.


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