Denied a Kiss, Fla. Woman, 92, Shoots Up Her Neighbor's House

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on March 24, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The title of this post sounds like something out of Betty White's newly reinvigorated career. It's not.

Helen Staudinger, 92, just wanted one kiss from her handsome (and way younger) neighbor. She was clearly lonely. But when he refused, the ensuing disappointment turned to rage.

Grandma got a gun and shot up his house.

Helen Staudinger, who is a widow, was arrested Tuesday near Ocala, Florida on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and shooting into a dwelling. The fanciful love affair behind her arrest is both simultaneously sad and funny.

Staudinger's neighbor, Dwight Bettner, aged 53, moved in about six months ago, reports Reuters. He was kind to the elderly lady, occasionally taking out her trash. In return, she gave him her heart.

When she showed up earlier this week, he asked her to leave. She refused to go without a kiss, but eventually gave up the argument and left.

Helen Staudinger returned with a .380 semiautomatic, reports the Daily News. She shot four times into his home, though she had planned to shoot his beloved car.

"If my head would have been over just a little bit further, (a bullet) probably would have hit me in the back of the head," Brettner told Reuters.

The paper reports that this wasn't the first time the two ran into problems. She had tried to strangle one of Brettner's girlfriends, and had once threatened to shoot him.

So what's going to happen to grandma now?

Given her age, Helen Staudinger probably won't spend a significant time in jail. Chances are she will be put on probation and kept under house arrest, or, via a plea agreement, be required to live in a facility where she can be watched and tended to.

The fact is that she is probably suffering from some sort of dementia, which may well excuse her crime. When this occurs, the court's main duty is to keep a person separate from the rest of society.

Whatever becomes of Helen Staudinger, her neighbor said he can't take all the drama and is looking to move away.

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