Tuesday, March 21, 2006; Posted: 1:22 a.m. EST (06:22 GMT)
BATAVIA, Ohio (AP) -- A man who neighbors say was devoted to his meticulously kept lawn was charged with murder in the shooting of a 15-year-old boy who apparently walked across his yard.
Charles Martin called 911 on Sunday afternoon, saying calmly: "I just killed a kid."
Police, who released the call's contents, said Martin also told the dispatcher: "I've been harassed by him and his parents for five years. Today just blew it up."
Larry Mugrage, whose family lived next door, was shot in the chest with a shotgun. The high school freshman was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Martin, 66, allegedly told police he had several times had problems with neighbors walking on his lawn. He remained jailed without bond Monday. His jailers said no attorney was listed for him.
Neighbors said Martin lived alone quietly, often sitting in front of his one-story home with its neat lawn, well-trimmed shrubbery and flag pole with U.S. and Navy flags flying.
Joanne Ritchie, 46, said Mugrage was known as "a good kid." She said she always also considered Martin to be friendly.
Well that'll teach 'im. He's probaly trampling lawns in hell now.
This whole thing has a king of the hills sort of feel for the excessive attention to lawn care. Frankly, I've never seen home landscaping as something to get all that excited about. In fact, I'd probaly be the guy on the block who allows his property to become an eyesore as the grass and weeds grow high enough to obscure pets and small children.