Would you believe you could get arrested for putting flowers on your fiancee’s grave?

Well, it happened to an Alabama man who was convicted of criminal littering and ordered to pay about $300 for repeatedly placing boxes full of flowers on the grave of his fiancee, whose father didn’t like the decorations or approve of their relationship.

The man, Winston  “Winchester” Hagans, had placed the flower boxes at Hannah Ford’s grave multiple times following her death in January 2021, one month after the two got engaged.

Rev. Tom Ford, the father of the late Hannah Ford, filed a complaint with the city after Hagans continued to place planter boxes containing flowers and photographs of the couple at Hannah’s grave.

Judge Jim McLaughlin found Hagans guilty and ordered him to pay a $50 littering fine as well as a $250 court charge. McLaughlin also suspended a 30-day jail sentence for Hagans, which will remain suspended so long as he does not place any more flowers on the site.

More details of this bizarre story from Daily Wire:

Ford was killed in a three-car crash on January 17th, 2021, roughly a mile from her home, according to KIRO 7. Her father owns the deed to the grave, located at a cemetery operated by the City of Auburn, and the City Prosecutor Justin Clark stated in court that according to city regulations, “benches, urns, boxes, shells, toys and other similar articles are not permitted to be placed or maintained on any lot of grave in said cemetery,” reported Opelika-Auburn News.

Hagans said that Ford’s family never directly told him to stop leaving the boxes, although the family disapproved of the relationship and asked him not to come to Hannah’s funeral.

Sari Card, the administrative assistant of Auburn Parks and Recreation, testified that she had spoken with Hagans several times about the problem with the planter boxes.

“He said he didn’t care,” Card told the court, according to Opelika-Auburn News. “[He said] that every time a box is removed he would make another one to replace it.”

In a statement to The Washington Post, David Dorton, a spokesperson for the city of Auburn, explained, “Any citizen has the right to pursue a criminal charge against another upon showing that sufficient probable cause exists to believe that a crime has been committed.”

“I find no joy to be here, and I did everything I could not to be here,” Rev. Ford told the court, reported Opelika-Auburn News.

“… I don’t get paid to have emotions or to rule on what’s right, or what’s nice, or what’s moral, or what’s Christian,” Judge McLaughlin said. “I’m paid to rule on the law and the facts. When you take all the other out of it … you got a deed that says no boxes. You got a gentleman who’s been told no boxes by the City of Auburn uncontroverted testimony. You got a gentleman who says — this frankly is where I lose my patience — ‘I don’t care what the rules are and what the law says, I’m gonna do what I want.’”

Before his conviction, Hagans thanked friends and family who had supported him during his grief and subsequent legal battle on Facebook. “It means more to me than you will ever know,” he wrote. “It has honestly saved my life.”

Jeff Tickal, Hagans’ defense attorney plans to file an appeal. If that appeal is granted, the case will move on to the Lee County Circuit Court, and the initial fines and fees will be dropped.

Sources: DailyWire, KIRO 7, Opelika-Auburn News

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