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Neighborhood Disputes Can Land You in Jail

Unless you live on a deserted island, you probably have at least one neighbor. Although neighbors can be a vital part of a tight-knit community and a source of support and help when you need it, there are times when a neighbor just gets on your nerves.

In some situations, however, neighborly disputes turn quite serious, with some escalating to violence and even fatal outcomes. Before you speak to a neighbor about a disagreement, make sure you go into it with a cool head. Unfortunately, there are plenty of examples where neighbors let their emotions lead to criminal conduct.

In Florida, a dispute over a missing birthday present eventually led to murder. According to an ABC News report, a set of neighbors started out as good friends. Their children played together, and the parents often socialized together. Tensions developed when one couple accused the other couple’s daughter of stealing a birthday present from their front porch. “After the stolen gift incident, everyone went from friends to just bickering in less than a month.”

One neighbor, Billy Woodward, raised chickens, which he claimed helped him cope with PTSD he suffered after serving in the military. To retaliate for the incident over the birthday present, his neighbor, Gary Hembree, reported the chickens to the authorities. Other incidents included one neighbor contacting the police because the other person parked a truck on his grass. The police were called to both homes multiple times. One neighbor obtained a restraining order against the other.

On Labor Day 2012, Woodward shot Hembree and two other neighbors who had been involved in the growing tensions in the community. Woodward currently awaits trial for murder in Florida, with a trial date expected in 2016.

In another case out of Maryland, a man is facing two years in prison over neighborhood animosity that has raged for years. After half a decade of knocking down his neighbors’ fence, blocking their driveway, and making rude gestures at them, the Maryland man was finally arrested for lying about having completed court-ordered anger management courses.

Keeping a Tight Rein on Your Anger

Most people have dealt with a difficult coworker or annoying neighbor from time to time. If you lose control of your tempter during an interpersonal conflict, however, you could end up losing your reputation, your job, and even your freedom. In both of the examples above, the victims captured the offenders’ actions on a smartphone video recorder. In the modern era of social media, harassing and threatening conduct can quickly go viral. Consider the consequences before acting out.

If you have been arrested for assault, harassment, or another type of offense, call Razumich Law, P.C. today at (317) 983-5333 for a free consultation.

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