Aiken County neighborhood dispute continues

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, August 27, 2007

AIKEN, S.C.---It's New Ellenton neighbors vs. Carlton Cantrell in a dispute that has gone on for two years and seems to be escalating.

Sheriff Michael Hunt says his office did everything right in the case of Larry Sheppard and his five-year-old son supposedly getting shot at while riding a 4-wheeler.

His deputy listened to both sides, got the facts and presented them to the New Ellenton Magistrate Judge Patrick Sullivan.

"The judge or the officer, depending on what kind of case it is, will decide if there is enough probable cause that meets the statute required to place somebody under arrest," Sheriff Hunt said.

Simply put, probable cause is facts. In the Sheppards' case, Judge Patrick Sullivan says there was not enough probable cause to arrest Carlton Cantrell.

There was no hard evidence to back up the statements made by the Sheppards to issue an arrest warrant. It was all verbal testimony. There were wide and varied statements from both parties, resulting in no further action taken according to Judge Sullivan.

Cantrell is sticking to his side of the story: He was 25 to 30 feet away from the road, across the street from his house and shot in the opposite direction of the Sheppards.

He adds that by the time Larry Sheppard heard the shot, Sheppard was already ahead of where Cantrell was standing.

"I wasn't in the wrong. I can shoot my gun on my property anytime I want. I didn't aim it at him," says Cantrell.

He's right. Sheriff Hunt says there is no state statute which says a person cannot shoot firearms on their own property at any time outside of city limits.

Larry Sheppard says he saw the pistol fired in his direction. Cantrell says that's not true.

"They didn't see nothing. They're just making up stories," says Cantrell.

He says he will not move and will continue to fight until something is done. He says neighbors threaten him everyday.

"Not a day go by they don't do something but I'm not scared of them and I'm not stopping."

The Sheppards wondered if someone needs to die before the Sheriff's Office arrests someone. Sheriff Hunt says that's not true.

With an open office policy, Hunt says any citizens who think they aren't being treated fairly should phone or come see him.

Cantrell will be back in court on September 4th for a non-jury hearing in Aiken. That will be regarding his plea agreement, in which he still hasn't received the $1,800 dollars back from a 2005 decision.

News 12 will continue to follow the story.

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