NEWTON FALLS - Friends and neighbors of Everett Greathouse said they would rather see the nearby playground memorialize his life than to see the house in which he was gunned down last summer continue to stand as a reminder of his death.
Greathouse, 15, spent a lot of time at the former Apache Park, which was renamed in the teen's honor not long after he died a short distance from the park just more than a year ago.
Village officials confirmed that plans are under way for the house at 72 Trumbull Court, where Greathouse lived with his family, to be demolished soon. The home, which has been empty since the July 6, 2012, quadruple homicide, remains marked by a yellow caution line.
"That house has been a reminder ever since. You hear some of the kids in the neighborhood talk about it. It still bothers them,'' neighbor Arthur Powell said.
''I think the house just keeps reminding them of what happened. The best thing for everyone is for them to tear it down. There are just too many bad memories,'' he said.
Investigators said that on July 6, 2012, Rob Brazzon, 55, killed his live-in girlfriend, Tracey Engler, 38, then went to his ex-brother-in-law's home at 72 Trumbull Court a block away and killed Rikki Cogley Sr., his wife Kathy Cogley, and her son, Greathouse.
Arthur Powell is one of the many neighbors who say the house at 72 Trumbull Court, one of the sites of a quadruple homicide and a suicide a year ago, should be razed. Photo by Virginia Shank
Brazzon committed suicide a few hours later as police closed in on him in the Newton Falls Cemetery.
"There's just a bad sense here, even when you walk by the house," Paul Fredericks said. "It really doesn't seem to have much potential for anything. I don't know why anyone would want to live there now. I wouldn't think anyone would want to."
Officials have indicated family members who own the home intend to donate it to the village to extend the park, now named Everett Greathouse Memorial Park.
"Everett spent lot of time at the park," Kaitlynn Stevens, 17, said. "That's a much better way to remember him. We were supposed to hang out the day he died. He was a special person."
Stevens, who dated Greathouse, said she's hoping the neighborhood will see less traffic once the house is razed.
"Right now it's like this house of horrors. People come by just to see the house where the people died, were murdered. I'm sure we'll still get some of that.
''It's understandable people are curious. But we'd much rather see the park and think about the family than to continue seeing the house and be reminded of what happened there,'' Stevens said.
Engler, 38, suffered two gunshots to the head and face. The Cogleys and Greathouse, a freshman at Newton Falls High School, were killed by multiple gunshot wounds. The 911 call, in which a caller inside the home left the phone on for dispatchers, picked up sounds of 10 gunshots, yelling and people pleading for their lives. A child, likely 5-year-old Rikki Cogley Jr., cries throughout the entire recording.
After the shooting, investigators said they removed 34 homemade M-250 explosives from inside Rob Brazzon's garage at 604 Newton Drive, where his girlfriend was found fatally shot.
Brazzon, 55, had been caught with homemade explosives in his home 13 years ago after an 18-month investigation by the Newton Falls police and state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
Brazzon, according to records, was selling the prescription painkiller Vicodin and was found to have 47 guns, 100,000 rounds of ammunition and homemade explosives eventually removed by the bomb squad at that time. He was charged in a 27-count indictment and received two years of probation in that case.
"It's just sad beyond say," remarked one neighbor, who did not want to be named. "It needs to be torn down. It's just a daily reminder that really serves no purpose."
Powell, who has lived in the neighborhood 10 years, said most of the people he has talked to expressed the same sentiments.
"You don't really hear anyone saying they should let it keep standing. Some of us knew the family, but I think we all knew Everett. He was a good kid. It just doesn't make any sense. He used to come over my house and borrow my rod and reel to go fishing.
''It's a lot easier to look at the park and smile than it is to look at the house and remember what happened. I'd rather remember them all, but especially Everett, with a smile," Powell said.