Man Gets Probation For Killing Over Dog Urine

UPDATED 12/29/10 4:57 p.m.

JOLIET, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — A 69-year-old south suburban man has been sentenced to four years’ probation, after he shot and killed his neighbor for letting a dog urinate on his lawn.

Charles Clements of University Park was sentenced by Judge Daniel Rozak in Will County Court, on a conviction of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Joshua Funches, 23, this past May.

The victim’s family says this is nowhere close to justice.

On May 10, Funches was walking his fox terrier on Landau Road when the dog urinated on Clements’ lawn, which had earned the homeowner awards for its beauty.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports.

The pair argued, and Funches hit Clements. But Clements followed Funches off his property and shot him. Clements was arrested and initially charged with first-degree murder.

Clements could have been sentenced to 20 years in prison, but instead received the minimum sentence. Judge Rozak said the case was not a matter of a dog urinating on a lawn, but of a young man threatening a much-older man and punching him in the face.

Rozak said the characterization of the case as being primarily about about a dog urinating on a lawn was a “media fabrication.”

When Rozak announced the sentence, an audible gasp of disbelief from Funches’ family members was heard in the courtroom. Clements showed no obvious emotion as the judge read his sentence, but nodded in agreement when the judge made his remarks on what the case was really about.

The judge also said he issued the lenient sentence because of Clements’ age, lack of a prior criminal record or evidently so much as even a speeding ticket, and past service as a U.S. Marine.

Funches’ family members were furious.

Funches’ aunt, Gail Williams, says Clements getting four years probation in the shooting death of her nephew is, in her words, “unbelievable.”

“To walk away with probation, absolutely positively not. This is certainly not justice and that’s all I have to say. This is not justice,” said Williams.

Williams also disagreed with Rozak’s statement that the case had nothing to do with a puppy urinating on the lawn.

“I think the judge was not truthful at all, because that’s exactly what prompted everything,” she said. “Joshua was walking his dog on a leash, minding his own business. Mr. Clements followed Joshua down the street. And those are facts. The judge was not being very honest with that. This is all what it was about.”

Before trial, Clements’ defense attorneys claimed that he acted in self-defense.

They say Clements was known for keeping a beautifully manicured, award-winning lawn. He had been noticing dog droppings on his lawn at a certain time each day. He engaged Funches in conversation about it when the 23-year-old was walking his dog.

Clements’ attorney says Funches became confrontational, letting loose a stream of “profanities and threats,” “vulgarities and threats of violence”, and also swore at Clements’ wife as she backed her car out of the driveway.

Clements said he showed Funches he had a gun, and Funches allegedly yelled, “Old man if you pull a gun on me you better plan on using it,” then punched the great-grandfather in the face, according to the filing.

That’s when Clements shot him in the stomach.

Clements said he blindly fired one shot as he was falling backward.

Funches’ aunt disagrees with that version of events.

“Joshua raised his hands. Mr. Clements pushed his hands down, and then Joshua hit him, all provoked by Mr. Clements, and that is a fact. Look at the court transcripts,” said Williams.

Jurors convicted Clements of second-degree murder in October, concluding that Clements had thought he was acting in self-defense, but that his belief was unreasonable.

“To know that in this day and age, you can follow a person down the street, pull a gun in broad daylight when children are on the street, kill a man and get charged with second-degree murder, and walk out of a courtroom because you’re 70 years of age and because you served in the military,” said Williams.

Funches had two children and a son who was born after his death.

“This was very, very unfair, and this is certainly not justice at all,” said Williams.

The victim’s mother, Patricia Funches, said as he lay dying in the back of an ambulance from a gunshot wound to the abdomen: “I said, ‘Joshua, call on Jesus to help you, because I can’t help you, but call on Jesus,’ and he said, ‘Jesus, Jesus.’ Those were the two last words I heard my son say.”

The shooting happened on Mother’s Day, which Patricia Funches says has now become the worst day of her life.

“He took my baby on Mother’s Day,” she said.

Clements’ attorney says this has been a life-changing occurrence for his client. Dan Rollins says Clements will always be burdened with his actions from that night and is remorseful for what happened. He said he never intended to cause pain or loss for the Funches family.

CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli and Suzanne Le Mignot, and Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser contributed to this report.

  • Dave

    I bet the result would be different if an old white man shot a black kid.

    • LOTD

      Indeed they would. The burning and looting would’ve started already!!!

    • Maria

      This is not justice this is not fair and this is not right. He should of gotten what the law requires not what the judge decided to give him for previously serving his country and because he didn’t have prior felonies so that makes it all better I guess..We’ll then this is the system working for the bad guys? Because what kind of good person shoots a young man over being hit?

  • 1eye4U

    He got punched, the guy was walking off when shot. I guess the old guy could’ve summoned police and filed a battery complaint and let the courts handle it. Instead he took the law into his own hands and killed the young guy and got probation. This looks like retalitation more than self defense. Am I missing something?.

    • Average Guy

      I believe you to be right. It was retaliation for what this young person did or said. As an older person, I feel we can’t “lose our cool” and blow-away every young person who acts “young”.

  • frank9711

    Yet another case of injustice. How could this judge rationalize that the shooter did not intentionally shoot the victim. Terrible what is happening in this country of ours.

  • Laura

    WOW this is an outrage – race has nothing to do with it. AGE does.
    The family of the MURDERED man should file an appeal – do something to get this bigoted judge OFF the bench the the sentence overturned for a more appropriate sentence for murder.
    So just because the shooter is OLD and was a MARINE, he gets probation for MURDER???

  • Phil

    Unbelievable,,, Are your telling me a young man can make me mad and curse me and my wife, I can follow him down the street and shoot him ? It was not self defense. He murdered the kid,. I do believe he was upset and doesn’t deserve 1st degree, but probation?
    Someone knows that judge, no other answer.

  • John 12

    God forbid he pay for what he did.I dont care how old he is he shot an un armed man. It is true if he was white you would see riots start up and Jesse Jackson would be running his loud mouth

  • CS

    Last week in NY Gov Paterson pardoned the man who shot a teenager in the back after the teen and a bunch of his friends staged a confrontation on the guy’s driveway.

    The old lady in Chicago who shot the 13 year old who had been breaking her windows: the kid was charged, not her.

    A n angry public is taking back its streets from the punks and the courts are backing them up.

    If your kid is the punk, ask yourself how he got that way.

  • Tom

    We’re locking up politicians for decades for financial crimes. We’re going to put Rod B.on trial again for his stupidity. But shoot and kill a guy and he gets probation. I quit.

  • Scott TB

    Wonder if he had a “keep off the grass sign”?

  • adiem

    Unbelievable – well people you know where to walk your dogs from now on and he can’t do jack. Murder – he gets probation. Sex with a student – he gets 20 years. What is wrong with justice?

  • Rex

    Judge Rozack sentenced a courtroom spectator to 6 months in prison for yawning about a year ago. I guess that yawning is a much more serious crime than murder. This guy needs to be removed from being a judge immediately.

    • ick

      This judge needs to be brought before the review board

  • Kat

    I can’t believe this guy got probation only… What was the judge thinking? Or I should say why wasn’t the judge thinking??? I agree that this judge be removed!! this is such an injustice for the family.

  • ismael martinez

    a man kills another and gets probation. a teacher has sex with a girl and gets 30 years.. what do that tell you?. when you have a fight kill the guy and you get probation.if you let him live you go to jail.

  • takinbackthestreets

    I say just was served! It’s time to teach these loud mothed agressive kids that they need to be respectful……Put your hands on me and your going down in a blaze of glory……His mother should have taught him that from the day of his birth, now she can be reminded every mothers day

    • Rick

      followed him with a gun?for dog urine.this is a great way to get justice for old people.give them guns to act the fool.

  • fun

    Rozak needs to go. This judge is a disgrace. Glascow need to go too. Four years probation for 2nd degree murder is an outrage.

  • Reporters’ Notebook: Dog finds home, many more wait in shelters | Buy Dog Training Books

    […] after he shot and killed his neighbor for letting a dog urinate on his lawn. Read more on CBS Chicago finds, Home, many, more, Notebook, Reporters', shelters, […]

  • info » Twins from Gainesville take over as DAs in North Carolina

    […] Man Gets Probation For Killing Over Dog Urine A 69-year-old south suburban man has been sentenced to four years’ probation, after he shot and killed his neighbor for letting a dog urinate on his lawn. Read more on CBS Chicago […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live