Lawn feud shooter goes free
A month after he shot his neighbor in a dispute over lawn maintenance, Lee Macon is a free man.
Posted on Fri, Mar. 07, 2008
BY ADAM H. BEASLEY AND DIANA MOSKOVITZ
County jail a free man on Thursday.
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* Crime Blog
Lee Macon, the Broward man who shot his neighbor to death during a fierce disagreement over the line that divides their two lawns, walked out of jail a free man Thursday.
The Broward grand jury said he committed no crime.
Macon's attorney, Richard F. Della Fera, argued that the shooting of Jerome Jackson -- which made national headlines -- was a clear case of self-defense, the last blow in a long-festering feud that erupted over the most seemingly insignificant matter. He said Jackson was the aggressor.
Said Chuck Morton, homicide division chief with the Broward state attorney's office: ``The grand jury considered every potential charge, from first-degree murder to manslaughter to justifiable self-defense . . . and they decided not to indict.''
Macon, interviewed by WSVN-Fox 7 as he left the jail, declared: ``I was exonerated. I'd like to get on with my life.''
Friends, neighbors in the Lauderdale Lakes community and even the lawn man who witnessed the fatal shooting testified on Macon's behalf during the closed proceeding, according to Della Fera. They persuaded the grand jury that Macon, 49, acted out of fear and self-preservation.
`GLAD HE'S HOME'
After his release, Macon was excited, relieved and happy, said his friend, Sharletta Davis, 39.
''We're just glad he's home,'' she said.
Davis said the grand jury's findings prove what his supporters had said since the shooting: that Macon had been pushed to the edge after years of fighting with Jackson.
''The truth came out, and it was what we were saying from day one,'' Davis said.
According to previous police accounts, Jackson, 51, and Macon had an ongoing feud, in part over the length of Jackson's lawn. Jackson preferred his lawn shaggy, while Macon preferred a close-cropped cut.
On the morning of Feb. 7, Collin Fraser, 52, was mowing Macon's yard when he made a swipe that may have veered onto Jackson's property, scalping the high grass.
Jackson became enraged, first confronting the lawn man.
Macon, sensing trouble, tucked a gun into his waistband and emerged from the home to confront Jackson. Shots were fired, and Jackson fell dying.
Della Fera said there was far more to the story.
With Macon present in the courtroom, witnesses testified that Jackson was largely to blame for the feud, and on the day of his death made several threatening moves toward the accused.
According to Della Fera, testimony established that Jackson rushed Macon, and began to punch him and tried to knock him to the ground. Macon pulled the gun from his waistband to scare Jackson away, but Jackson lunged for the weapon. Macon fired a warning shot into the sky, but Jackson continued to grasp for the gun.
Finally, Macon fired a shot into Jackson's shoulder, knocking him down, then went inside and called 911.
Authorities arrived within minutes, but not in time to save Jackson.
Broward Sheriff's Office deputies ordered Macon to the ground and asked where they could find the weapon, which he had left inside.
By the end of the day, he was charged with murder.
Almost as soon as Della Fera took the case, he said he started receiving stacks of e-mails and countless calls from his client's supporters.
''He's an amazing person. I sensed it from the moment I met him,'' Della Fera said. ``He regrets the loss of life, but I think he knows in his heart that he did what he had to.''
In the 3600 block of Northwest 28th Street, where the men lived side by side in disharmony, the lights were off at the Macon home and no one answered the door late Thursday.
Both lawns are now badly overgrown