Families sue over homicides



A Wallace man facing murder charges in connection with the shooting deaths of two neighboring women over a property dispute now faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the victims' families.

Peter Chiesa, 63, and his wife, Donna Chiesa, 42, are named in a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the families of Annette Truman and Leslie Hannameyer. The two women were killed June 25 while they were clearing tree trimmings left in a driveway the three families shared.

If found guilty of the double homicide, Chiesa could receive the death penalty.

According to Calaveras County Sheriff's Department reports, Chiesa shot and killed the two friends and neighbors as they removed logs and debris from eucalyptus trees Chiesa had trimmed.

The civil suit alleges that Chiesa inflicted emotional distress on the victims' two sons, one of whom, Ben Truman, not only witnessed the shootings, but was shot at by Chiesa as he ran to get help for his dying mother.

The suit also alleges Chiesa and his wife had for years "regularly littered the driveway with logs, cuttings and debris making passage virtually impossible (for the Hannameyer and Truman families)."

"Peter Chiesa did willfully and maliciously lay in wait for the (children) for the purpose of startling and frightening the children as they walked or rode along the driveway, discouraging them from their right to be on the easement," the lawsuit states.

According to Gary Gallawa, the Sacramento attorney representing the victims' families, the driveway easement was clearly documented in property deeds filed with the Calaveras County Assessor's office.

"It was an escalating dispute for years, and Mr. Chiesa did not acknowledge or accept the Hannameyer and Truman families need for that easement," Gallawa said from his office. "There way no way in or out of their homes except through the driveway."

Gallawa said a man who previously owned the Hannameyer property filed a civil lawsuit against Chiesa over the easement and won. Yet, he said, Chiesa and his wife proceeded to engage in "unlawful interference with the (Truman and Hannameyer families) use and possession of the easement and their driveway."

The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Thursday October 27, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
New oak disease spreads from coast to foothills


A deadly fungus killing oak trees along the coasts of central and ... more

Residents complain about cultivation enforcement


Residents of El Rancho Loma Serena Homeowners Association said they believe Calaveras ... more

Paying the price


Chris Lusardi, of Sonora, is one of thousands of Tuolumne County residents ... more

Columbia Elementary gets an interim leader


The Columbia Union School Board Tuesday hired Diane Dotson as interim superintendent-principal. ... more

All Hallows Fantasy Faire


Hundreds of people of all ages, costumed and non-costumed, attended the eighth ... more