Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye

"If He Touches Me I’ll Kill Him"

Marvin hadn't lived in the same house with his father in a quarter-century. Besides the childhood baggage and conflicts over the drug use, sex and porn, two other issues festered in the edgy relationship between them.

Alberta Gay had had kidney surgery in the fall of 1983. Marvin, Sr. had gone back to Washington for unspecified purposes, and he refused to return to California to support his wife during her surgery.

Also, Marvin, Jr. had learned that his father had sold the family house in Washington during his stay there. He believed his mother was owed half that money, but Marvin, Sr. refused to acknowledge that he had sold the property.

Although the men managed to avoid one another most of the time, the physical tension was palpable — so much so that Marvin, Sr. told his daughter Jeanne, "If he touches me I'll kill him."

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