Arlington man gets 6 years for killing his neighbor

Posted Friday, Jun. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A Tarrant County jury sentenced Franklin Hudson to six years in prison on Thursday for the shooting death of his neighbor Arlington Haney last year after the two men argued over a dog.

Hudson also was sentenced to eight years’ probation on two charges of deadly conduct, and found not guilty on one charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on allegations that he shot at Haney’s 10-year-old son.

The jury found Hudson guilty of shooting at his neighbor’s wife, Shameka Haney, and Haney’s friend, Raphael Pitts, when they tried to help the fatally wounded man. Hudson, who will be eligible for parole in three years, could have been sentenced to a maximum of 99 years in prison.

“We were hoping for a not guilty verdict on the murder charge,” said Michael Schneider, Hudson’s attorney. “But we respect the jury’s verdict.”

During the punishment phase of the trial on Thursday, Hudson’s defense attorneys presented evidence showing that Haney had entered into a plea agreement with the federal government that was filed in U.S. Northern District Court in Dallas in February 2012.

Sentencing was pending and scheduled for June 7, 2012, a scheduling order showed. Haney died May 8, 2012.

Haney was accused of accepting a 4-pound package of marijuana that police in Petaluma, Calif. intercepted. Police had the marijuana delivered and arrested Haney after he picked up the package while he was living in Grand Prairie in September 2010, according to the factual résumé filed in the federal case.

Federal officials stated that Haney admitted to having more marijuana, cocaine and a .45-caliber Glock pistol hidden under his mattress. The drugs and pistol were found by Grand Prairie police during the execution of a search warrant. Haney also admitted to selling more than 24 ounces of cocaine during the past year, according to federal court documents.

As a result of that arrest, federal officials seized a 2008 Chevrolet Yukon and more than $63,000 in cash from Haney. The cash was found in a safe along with additional cocaine in a daughter’s bedroom, a federal court document said.

Hudson, 67, took the witness stand earlier in the week and said he shot Haney nine times in self-defense after the men argued about Haney’s dog.

During testimony on Tuesday, prosecutor Sheila Wynn called Hudson the dog leash enforcer of his community. Wynn presented evidence that showed Hudson called Arlington animal control officials at least four times on dogs that were running loose through the neighborhood and getting into his trash.

“This was a senseless killing over a dispute between neighbors about a dog,” said Elizabeth Beach, co-prosecutor in the case. “The jury’s verdict showed that when there’s a conflict between individuals, the rule of law must prevail and citizens can’t take vengeance into their own hands.”

On Tuesday, Hudson testified that he called police narcotics officers in March after he saw a man leave Haney’s house shaking a bag of what appeared to be marijuana. He told police he believed he saw the butt of a pistol protruding from Haney’s pocket in February.

“After that, I started carrying my handgun on a regular basis,” Hudson said. “I started seeing strange people come around.”

Hudson said he was proud of his yard and his house and tried to instill the pride of ownership in others.

“I tried to talk with them. It didn’t do any good,” Hudson said. “There was no respect in there. He had no consideration for others. ”

Hudson told the jury he believed he saw the barrel of a handgun in Haney’s back pocket on May 8, 2012, the day of the shooting. He said he had tried to make peace with Haney but was rejected.

When Haney’s dog ran into Hudson’s house, Haney followed the animal inside. Hudson told the jury he ordered Haney off his property and told him to never come back.

Haney left, but came right back and jumped out at him from behind some bushes, which scared him. That’s when he started shooting, Hudson told the jury.

“The first thing on my mind is defense,” Hudson said. “I’m not going to let this man shoot me.”

When prosecutors Wynn and Beach asked why Hudson did not retreat, he said he did not want to put his wife in danger.

“You can’t outrun a bullet,” Hudson said. “I don’t want to go nowhere near that doorway. My wife will be coming out to see what was going on.”

“If only [Haney] had gone back home all this could have been avoided,” Hudson said.

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752 Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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