Man attacks ex-wife's parents with hatchet

Friday, November 1, 2002

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. -- A man who posted bail, then broke into his ex-wife's home and attacked her and her family with a hatchet was shot to death early Thursday by her boyfriend, authorities said.

Eric Kiefer, 35, had been in custody for violating a restraining order by breaking into the home Sunday and assaulting the woman and their 10-year-old daughter, Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.

He was freed after posting $25,000 bail.

Authorities said Kiefer broke into the house again at about 1 a.m. Thursday and tried to make his daughter drink some sort of caustic liquid. When his ex-wife's parents stopped him, he began swinging a hatchet at them, Amormino said. The woman's boyfriend, Mathew Dyer, 30, stepped in and he, too, was attacked, authorities said.

The grandfather retrieved a handgun and fired it at Kiefer, missing him. Dyer then got a shotgun and fired it once, striking Kiefer in the neck, Amormino said.

Kiefer died at the scene.

Dyer and the grandparents, Charles and Barbara Howlett, were taken to Saddleback Memorial Medical Center for treatment of deep cuts to their heads and arms. The woman and her daughter were traumatized, but not physically injured, Amormino said.

Amormino said the man had been arrested numerous times after following his ex-wife and daughter from San Antonio, where they had lived.

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