The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 13, 2013

Alabama man shot, killed in dispute over property

Associated Press

— NORTPORT, Ala. (AP) — A Tuscaloosa County man was fatally shot as he and a neighbor exchanged gunshots across the chain-link fence separating their homes during an argument over the property line, police said.

Northport police said Roy Sewell, 71, was shot to death Friday. Officers found his body on the porch of his home.

Investigators interviewed the other man but did not charge him. Police Sgt. Dale Phillips said authorities had yet to determine which man instigated the dispute.

"There's a possibility that this could have been a self-defense issue," Phillips said. "(The neighbor) called 911 and has been cooperative."

One of the men was cutting his grass at the time of the argument. Phillips said the men had clashed over their adjoining property and the chain-link fence that divides it in the past.

Police did not say which man fired first, and they did not release the name of the other man involved in the dispute.

Grand jurors will review the case to determine whether charges are warranted.

"Property disputes are a very common thing and they lead to violence quite often," said Phillips