Charges dropped against man accused of shooting neighbor

February 4, 2020 GMT

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Charges have been dropped against a man accused of shooting his neighbor during a dispute instigated by a toy boat in their shared driveway due to witness cooperation issues, prosecutors said.

Oliver Renehan, 59, who prosecutors said shot his neighbor Kevin Nottage III, in the leg in July, was charged with assault and reckless conduct.

Prosecutors dropped the charges Monday, Valley News reported.

Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway declined to say in an interview which witness made it difficult to further pursue the case, but about a month ago Renehan’s attorney filed a motion stating that Nottage now lives in Florida and is not “available or willing” to attend Renehan’s trial.

Police say Renehan is accused of firing two shots after he and Nottage intervened in a conflict between Renehan’s fiancee and Nottage’s aunt.

Paula Cain, Renehan’s fiancee, returned home July 24 and hit with a car a plastic toy boat that belonged to one of the children who lived at Renehan’s residence, police said. According to police statements made by Valerie Ellsey, Nottage’s aunt, she went to move the boat back into position on the driveway when Cain approached her with a firearm in her hand. Ellsey told police she wasn’t sure of Cain’s intention so she punched her and a scuffle ensued.

Cain said she had a firearm in her pocket and it fell out.

During the fight, Nottage confronted Renehan who fired two shots, one of which hit Nottage in the leg.

There was a longstanding property dispute between the neighbors.

Renehan claims he acted in “defense of others,” which is protected in certain cases under New Hampshire’s self-defense laws.