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Murder Victim’s Chilling Screams Heard on 911 Tape

August 20, 1992

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) _ Screams and gunshots are heard on a chilling emergency 911 tape of a woman being murdered with her husband and mother.

Kern County sheriff’s office released a tape Wednesday afternoon of the last seconds of Cindy Volpe’s life. She told the 911 dispatcher her address and her first name and said: ″There’s an intruder in my house.″

Then, scream after scream is heard on the tape intermingled with gunshots and ending with a whimper.

The tape was released hours after sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers fatally shot Robert Courtney, the man they believe killed Mrs. Volpe, 38; her husband, Kenneth, 39; and her mother, Betty Reed, 62.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Glenn Johnson said Courtney, 48, walked through an open back door in the Volpe’s home in Bakersfield on Tuesday and fired 10 to 15 shots.

At the time of the killings, Courtney was on trial on a charge of breaking the jaw of Mrs. Volpe, a Kern County health inspector who had cited him for raw sewage at apartments he owns.

The Superior Court jury had not returned a verdict on the assault charge by the time the killings were revealed.

Courtney remained at-large for more than 24 hours after the killings until a convenience store clerk in the rural town of Lamont recognized him from media descriptions and notified authorities.

A chase ensued east along Highway 58 with law enforcement officers in about 20 cars firing at Courtney as he fired back. Officers shot the car’s tires out, and Courtney’s car caught fire before it stopped and he was killed.

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