(NEWSER) – On Tuesday night, a 62-year-old Ohio woman started mowing her lawn. She never finished the task. Police says Linda Ciotto was shot in the head while mowing the grass at her Willard home around 9pm, and her neighbor stands accused of the crime.
James Blair, 50, was allegedly angered by the late-night mowing; he and his mother live next door to Ciotto, and his mother told sheriff’s deputies that her son had told her that his agitation with Ciotto had been building as she mowed, report WKYC. A neighbor tells WOIO he heard one shot, and the Huron County Coroner tells the AP that the gunshot occurred at a close distance. Coroner Jeffrey Harwood also observed a severe left arm wound that he says could have been caused by a mower blade. That jibes with reports that Blair allegedly mowed over Ciotto after shooting her.
Police arrested Blair early Wednesday following a six-hour standoff during which he refused to exit his home. A SWAT team was on the scene, and Blair gave himself up once tear gas was used on the home. He’s being held in Huron County Jail on $1 million bond, and his mother, 73, is there with him.
Billie Hinkle was arrested the next day and charged with tampering with evidence; Chief Deputy Ted Patrick says she transported the alleged weapon, a .38 revolver, from the scene to a different location; the Norwalk Reflector reports it was found inside a bag. Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard tells the AP that in his 30 years on the job it was the most “horrific” and “bizarre” crime scene he has seen.
WOIO notes that it was told Ciotto was trying to sell her house so she could be with relatives in Columbus.