Man guilty of murder in shooting over lawn
Ohio homeowner killed teen who walked across meticulously tended grass
Updated: 9:40 p.m. ET April 26, 2007
BATAVIA, Ohio - A jury Thursday convicted a man of murder for shooting a teenage neighbor who walked on his obsessively maintained lawn.
The jury deliberated less than four hours before finding Charles Martin, 67, guilty of murder. Martin was tried on a charge of aggravated murder, but jurors convicted him on the lesser count of murder because they could not agree the killing was planned.
The defense didn't dispute that Martin shot 15-year-old Larry Mugrage Jr. after he stepped on the lawn Martin meticulously cared for, mowing it as many as five times a week.
But defense attorney R. Scott Croswell III said Martin had been harassed for years by Mugrage and other neighborhood youths who insulted Martin and ignored his pleas to stay off the lawn.
Prosecutors said Martin and the teen exchanged words when he stepped on Martin's front yard on the way to play basketball. Later, the boy stepped on the lawn again, and Martin fired at him twice with a shotgun, according to testimony. Martin called 911, telling a dispatcher: "I just killed a kid."
Kevin Miles, an assistant Clermont County prosecutor, told jurors that after the first confrontation, Martin loaded his .410-gauge shotgun and waited more than three hours for Mugrage to return.
Martin faces 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced May 23. He remains in jail on $2 million bond.
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