*So who is responsible? The scenario presented in the headline alone asks this. What we know further is that a mobile home owner got sick and tired of his property being burglarized and set a trap.
According to what Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer told Fox affiliate WALA, Nathaniel Johnson, 68, decided to take matters into his own hands after a series of burglaries at his mobile home in Leroy, Alabama.
According to AI.com, Johnson’s trap included him parking his car at a neighbor’s home one night in an effort to appear the home was empty. He then returned. Turned out all the lights and placed a car mirror near a window so he could see what was happening outside.
Shortly before midnight, Johnson told authorities he heard a knock at the front door, which he did not answer. The person then went around back and Johnson heard him breaking in.
According to Johnson, he confronted the suspect and the surprise made the man either fall off the steps or jump. Either way, the move made it possible for Johnson to subdue him. He managed to tie the man’s hands, duck-tape his mouth, and then tie him to a tree.
“He began to tie him to the tree still in the standing up position,” Stringer told WALA, noting that Johnson used “multiple layers of masking tape that he had wrapped around his mouth and all the way around his head.”
Though the homeowner claims the intruder was alive when he left him 10-minutes earlier, and there was no indication the man was dying, by the time the police arrived the man was dead.
The man was later identified as 31-year-old Cleveland Jones Gully.The family of the dead man is, of course, devastated. And some are surprised at the incident itself. But Stringer insists the killing was unintentional.
“I don’t think he was intending to kill the intruder,” Stringer told WALA. “I think he wanted to capture him and have him arrested.”
Johnson’s niece, Simone Johnson, told WALA that Gully’s death has left many people in pain.
“He doesn’t bother anybody,” she said, referring to her uncle. “He’ll help you if you need helping, so the family just hates what happened. I know the other guy. His family is hurting too, but we are also and we hate that, and I hope that we can just get this resolved soon.”
The alleged intruder’s uncle, Michael Gully, told WALA that he was shocked by the allegations leveled against his relative.
“I was surprised that it happened,” he said. “He just wasn’t a violent person that I know of.”
So again I ask: Who is responsible? Should the homeowner who decided to take measures into his own hands and secure the suspect now be charged with his murder or…?