CHICAGO — A Chicago area man who killed a neighbor whose dog urinated on his lawn was sentenced today to four years probation.
"This is not justice," said Gail Williams, the slain man's aunt.
Charles Clements, 69, a great-grandfather, former
Marine and retired truck driver who took great pride in his lawn's
appearance, could have been sentenced to as much as 20 years.
In declining to send Clements to jail, Will County Judge Daniel Rozak noted the episode was Clements' first contact with the legal system in his 69 years.
He also said the slaying wasn't about a dog
urinating on a lawn, but "about your reaction ... to being yelled at,
pushed and punched in the face by a 23-year-old man"
The Will County
state's attorney's office, which had asked for jail time, indicated it
would not appeal the sentence. "He (Rozak) is an excellent judge and we
respect his decision," prosecutors said in a statement.
Clements had apologized for his actions at a
sentencing hearing that was interrupted last week when the slain man's
mother began to hyperventilate in court.
A Will County jury convicted Clements of second-degree murder in October.
Joshua Funches, 23, was walking his fox terrier puppy when Clements confronted him after the dog urinated on his manicured lawn.
After Funches cursed at him, Clements pulled out a
.45-caliber handgun and put it back in his pocket. Soon after, Funches
punched Clements once in the face. Clements said Funches was standing
still when he pulled out his gun and fatally shot him.
Funches had three small children, including a boy born after his death. Patricia Funches,
his mother, had asked Rozak to sentence Clements to the maximum 20
years in prison. Clements had been free on bond pending his sentencing.
Clements' attorney, Daniel Collins, said he was "very satisfied" with the sentence, as were Clements and his family.
"They're very thankful to the judge," he said.
Clements will meet with his probation officer to see if he will be allowed to move out of University Park, Ill., he added.
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