JOLIET, Ill. — A former Marine who was convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a man whose puppy urinated on his award-winning lawn was sentenced Wednesday to four years probation.
Charles Clements, 69, won't do any jail time for killing his neighbor Joshua Funches, 23, during an argument outside Clements' home. He could have been sentenced to as long as 20 years in prison, The Chicago Tribune reported.
"This is not justice," said Gail Williams, the slain man's aunt, according to the Tribune.
In May 2009, as Funches passed Clements' home while walking his fox terrier, the dog lifted its leg and relieved itself, witnesses said. The two men got into an argument. After Funches cursed at him, Clements pulled out a .45-caliber handgun, then put it back in his pocket, the Tribune reported. Soon after, Funches punched Clements in the face. Clements said Funches was standing still when he redrew the gun and shot him, the Tribune reported.
Funches later died of his injuries.
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Funches was the father of three young children, including one born after his death, according to the Tribune.
The Will County state's attorney indicated it would not appeal county Judge Daniel Rozak's sentence. The attorney's office issued a statement following the ruling:
“Given the serious nature of the crime and the evidence presented at trial, the State’s Attorney’s Office asked the judge for a prison sentence for Charles Clements. After presiding over the trial and hearing all the facts and circumstances, the judge determined that probation was an appropriate sentence. He is an excellent judge and we respect his decision.”
The judge told Clements 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 Tribune reported.
Having repeatedly earned University Park's lawn upkeep award, Clements often verbally harassed anyone who stepped near or on his precious grass, neighbors said.
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