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“He was such a good father. He was a good friend. And for some punk to kill him that way … it’s so unreal,” said a tearful Sandy Marlow.

Sandy Marlow was scared. She was house-sitting for a friend when she says Brandon Biagioni showed up. He used to live in the home as a sort of live-in handyman. But the home’s owner says he wasn’t supposed to be there anymore.

“I had made a 9-1-1 call to say there was an intruder. And the police didn’t come, and they didn’t come, and they didn’t come,” Marlow said.

So her next call was to her husband, James. And he did come. He got in his car and made the approximately 20 minute drive to help his wife, beating police to the scene. Along the way he grabbed the only thing he could think of- a baseball bat.

“To potentially protect himself and his wife,” said Jason Ramos, spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff.

But police say, in the end, that’s not how it happened. Instead, they say 32-year-old Biagioni got the bat away from 62-year-old James Marlow. Got it, and hit him with it. Minutes later, after a second round of 9-1-1 calls, police arrived.

“The victim in this case did give a statement. He was coherent. He was alert. Just looking at him, it did not appear he was terribly, seriously injured,” Ramos said.

Despite that, hours later, James Marlow died.

“To have this happen… I can’t help but feel guilty,” said the home’s owner.

Marlow’s wife doesn’t blame her friend. She says there’s no way the home’s owner could have known what Biagioni would do.

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputies say the 40 minute delay in arriving on-scene after the first 9-1-1 calls is because they didn’t know what he would do, either.

“All he had to do, because he knew the cops were coming, all he had to do was leave that house. I’d have never had to make that call. I’d have never brought my husband to the place where he was going to be killed,” Marlow said.