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Louisiana man, 70, convicted or murder in feud with neighbor

June 20, 2022 GMT

GRETNA, La. (AP) — A 70-year-old Louisiana man has been convicted of murder after shooting his next-door neighbor in a long-running feud that escalated from threats and fist fighting to fatal violence.

Lawrence Sly of Harvey faces a mandatory life sentence after a Jefferson Parish jury found him guilty of second-degree murder Friday, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Prosecutors said Sly shot an unarmed 57-year-old Garland Webber six times outside their homes, including twice in the head, on Nov. 11, 2019.

Sly testified that he opened fire in self-defense. He said he was taking out his trash when Webber approached him and he thought Webber was reaching for a gun in his waistband. Investigators later concluded that Webber was unarmed. Sly told police he continued shooting even after Webber collapsed because he feared that Webber would retaliate if he survived.

Court records show sheriff’s deputies since at least 2015 responded to several calls from the two neighbors as they accused each other of threats, harassment and assault. In 2017, Webber pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for pointing a shotgun at Sly. The following year deputies responded to a scuffle that left both men injured, but neither was charged.

Sly is scheduled for sentencing by a judge on July 11. Second-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison in Louisiana.