The shotgun blast that felled 33-year-old Kenny Livesey didn’t kill him right away. He remained prone on his back on the wet grass outside a remote Calaveras County home for almost two hours until he took his last breath.
The man who reportedly admitted to authorities that September day in 2016 that he shot Livesey was never arrested, never charged with a crime and to this day has not expressed any remorse to the Livesey family, they say.
“My son’s case pretty much got pushed to the side, pushed to the side, pushed to the side over two years. We were just shocked,” said Susie Livesey of Stockton, Kenny’s mom.
The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office said detectives were called to the scene that morning and completed a full investigation.
“It was an unfortunate incident for everyone involved,” Sgt. Rachelle Whiting said in the department’s written reply to a request for comment.
“No initial arrest was made at the scene because the determination of whether it was self-defense or not was still being investigated and the home owner who shot Kenneth Livesey was cooperating with the investigation,” Whiting wrote.
“After the investigation was complete, the entire case was forwarded to the (Calaveras County) District Attorney’s Office for review of a charging decision,” Whiting concluded.
The DA’s Office did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.
Livesey’s father, Don Livesey of Jackson, and mother said they too have not been provided with answers to their questions about an admitted shooter not being charged. They were informed late this past summer that a grand jury had convened but no indictment was issued. A civil case brought by the family against the property owner was settled with the owner’s insurance company, but no one was allowed to comment.
“Barbara Yook, the DA, never once told us this was a self-defense case,” Susie Livesey said. “Did Kenny do anything illegal? They wouldn’t answer us. We have to beg for all the information we have. I don’t believe my son needed to die. He made a bad decision.”
Don Livesey said his happy-go-lucky son’s blood alcohol level was measured at 0.24 percent, three times the legal limit.
Kenny Livesey was a star baseball player during his years at Stockton’s Stagg High School. So good, in fact, that he was drafted as a pitcher for Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves. That opportunity never happened, however, but Livesey did go on to play ball at Cosumnes River College and earn an athletic scholarship to play for the University of Kansas Jayhawks during the 2004 season.
“Kenny loved the game of baseball,” said Frank Wanner, who coached Livesey during his stellar last year at Stagg High. Wanner recalled Livesey’s focus on making himself a better pitcher.
“I was impressed with his discipline as far as improving himself,” Wanner said. “Unfortunately, his potential as a baseball player never got fully realized, but more unfortunate is the way his life ended.”
The night before he died, Livesey was in Jackson, where he met up with two men and spent several hours with them drinking in a bar. Eventually, one of the men invited Livesey to come to his residence because he was “kind of drunk,” the man told sheriff's investigators.
That home was in a rural area east of Wilseyville, off a private road shared by three homes behind a gate. Livesey fell asleep on a couch until about 4 a.m. when he awoke and decided to take his host’s Jeep and leave the property.
Apparently unable to find the gate, Livesey drove around the property. That awoke a 33-year-old woman living in a home across the road who came outside and observed her neighbor’s Jeep being driven by a man she didn’t know, according to sheriff's reports.
She shined a flashlight on the driver — Livesey — and he stopped in front of her house. According to the woman, the driver then yelled at her, using a profanity to ask how to “get out of here.” She replied: “Well, you came in here.” The woman said that Livesey started cussing at her and being “belligerent.” She called Livesey a profane name but also offered to guide him out.
But when Livesey replied with “something like, ‘Yeah, go ahead, sweet cakes,’ ” the woman went inside to wake her father, according to sheriff's reports. Her father went outside and the woman reportedly brought him his Remington 870 shotgun.
The father started yelling at Livesey to leave, according to reports, but instead Livesey stopped the Jeep and got out. The father fired a single warning shot.
The woman “stated that after the warning shot was fired, she made the mistake of calling” Livesey a name, according to sheriff's reports. Livesey, according to the woman, then advanced toward them saying “Come on boy” in order to antagonize her father. She explained “that some point after that her father fired a second shot at him in self-defense.”
That shot struck Livesey in the chest. The exact time was not clear, but a neighbor reported hearing two shots about 4:48 a.m. The Sheriff’s Office got its first report and dispatched units to the scene at 5:15 a.m. The first units reported arriving 35 minutes later, at 5:50 a.m.
One of the first deputies on scene reported Livesey was alive and able to answer a question. He described Livesey’s injury as “a sucking chest wound” and placed a chest seal over the wound to allow Livesey to regain normal breathing.
Paramedics arrived and took over attempting to save Livesey, but he went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing. CPR was administered until Livesey was officially pronounced deceased at 6:27 a.m.
While sitting in the back of a sheriff’s patrol car before any questions were asked of him, the father “expressed remorse in having to make the decision to shoot ‘the guy’ or not,” according to reports.
Later, under questioning, the father, who described himself as a former U.S. Marine with training in the use of firearms, reportedly admitted he shot Livesey after he allegedly “lunged” toward the father and daughter. The names of the alleged shooter and his family have not been released.
“I’ve been impacted beyond belief,” Don Livesey said recently. “Kenny was my first-born son and also my best friend. We got along great; he was a great kid who always had a smile on his face. Unfortunately, he had an addiction to alcohol and we all know how hard for some people that is to break.”
Despite his son’s alleged actions, Don Livesey said he believes in his heart “there has been a total miscarriage of justice in the way this case was handled.”
Contact reporter Joe Goldeen at (209) 546-8278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at recordnet.com/goldeenblog and on Twitter @JoeGoldeen.