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Argument over lawn ends in fatal shooting

Ex-Marine accused in neighbor’s death

CHICAGO – A former Marine who neighbors say obsessed over his lawn is being held on $3 million bail, accused of gunning down a neighbor whose puppy urinated on the man’s well-manicured grass.

Charles J. Clements, 69, had won the south suburb of University Park’s beautification and lawn upkeep award but also was known for threatening people who dared to set foot in his yard, neighbors said.

Joshua Funches, a 23-year-old father of two who drove a bus, was walking his fox terrier Gucci on Sunday night when the dog lifted its leg and urinated on Clements’ lawn, said Funches’ mother Patricia, 53.

The two men began arguing, and at some point Clements, a retired truck driver, pulled out a pistol and pointed it at Funches, said Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Sondra Denmark.

Witnesses said Funches then said to Clements, “Next time you pull out a pistol, why don’t you use it?” Denmark said. At that point, witnesses said they saw orange and white light and heard a loud noise. They saw Funches fall to the ground.

“It was all over a little wooden plaque,” said an emotional Patricia Funches, referring to the beautification award. “It was a senseless death.”

Clements then returned to his house and changed his clothes. When University Park police arrived, they found the master landscaper in his garage with the door open.

“I knew you were coming for me,” he told police, according to Denmark. “That’s why I changed my clothes. I knew you were coming for me.”


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