Click to use the Talking Dictionary 20. A Murder-Suicide

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A man and a woman died in an apparent murder-suicide last night in Altadena. The man was 74-year-old Dominic Vittorio. The woman was his 70-year-old wife, Victoria. The couple had been married for 50 years. In fact, their 50th anniversary occurred just a month ago, according to their next-door neighbor, Mrs. Allen. The couple was childless and had no close friends. Mr. Vittorio was a retired carpenter who had emphysema and was blind in one eye because of a cataract. His wife was a diabetic who had already had one foot amputated because of complications from the disease. Her eyesight was almost completely gone.

"They were such a nice couple," said Mrs. Allen. "I've lived next to them for the last 20 years or so. I'm widowed, and Dom always used to help me with things like changing light bulbs and fixing appliances. They had no kids, but they were always friendly to the neighborhood kids. Every Halloween they handed out tons of candy and fresh fruit. But about eight years ago Vicky came down with diabetes, and things just haven't been the same for her or Dom. They used to be so friendly and full of life, and then they just seemed to get quieter and quieter.

"She used to come over to my place once or twice a week, and we would talk about all kinds of things and have the nicest time. But that happened less and less as she got sicker. So I would go over to her house about once a week and we would talk. But the conversations steadily got shorter, and she seemed to lose interest in listening and in talking. She didn't say it, but you could tell she was in a lot of pain."

Mrs. Allen said she hadn't even talked to either of the Vittorios in almost a year. They never came out. Even food was delivered to them by a local agency. She said she heard two gunshots last nightó"It scared me half to death!" She immediately called the police. "Such a sad ending for such nice people," she said. "Together in sickness, but alone in the world."


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