AP NEWS

Man convicted of killing his neighbor in Carthage

January 16, 2020 GMT

CARTHAGE, Mo. (AP) — A Carthage man has been convicted of killing his neighbor after a dispute that included a lawnmower being tipped over.

A Jasper County jury deliberated about 25 minutes Wednesday before finding Ricky Marchbanks, 62, guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the 2016 shooting death of Jeremy Neeper, 38.

Marchbanks attorneys argued during the trial that the shooting was self-defense. Marchbanks believed Neeper had fired at Marchbanks’ truck and was pointing the gun at him when he decided to shoot, defense attorney Angela Acree said.

Prosecutors noted no gun was found at the scene and that Marchbanks fled the neighborhood after the shooting.

Prosecutor Theresa Kenney also noted that Marchbanks left a message on his wife’s cousin’s phone that said he shot his neighbor because Neeper had tipped over his lawn mower, The Joplin Globe reported. He left a second message 10 minutes later that was the first time Marchbanks mentioned Neeper having a gun, she said.

Prosecutors also said Marchbanks told a neighbor and a friend before the shooting that he was going to kill Neeper.

First-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence in Missouri of life without parole. Sentencing was scheduled for March 9.