An Idaho Falls man who threatened his neighbor with a gun over a property line dispute was sentenced Wednesday to probation.
Robert Harold Roof, 51, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault in September after he admitted to pointing a gun at the victim.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Roof was angry that roofers at the victim’s house had parked partially on his side of a shared driveway. Roof told police the workers had also left shingles on his property.
The victim told the workers to continue and ignore Roof. He and Roof traded insults. The victim told police similar confrontations had happened before over parking and barbecue smoke.
What happened next is disputed between the parties. The victim said Roof drew the gun, threatened to kill him, and that he ran into the house to call police. Roof said he was acting in self-defense after the victim became confrontational.
Defense attorney Rocky Wixom said his client made a mistake while trying to deescalate a tense situation.
“I think a lot of members of the public, especially since we’re so gun-oriented in Idaho and Utah, probably don’t have a good handle on when it is or isn’t appropriate to introduce a gun into any kind of conflict,” Wixom said.
Wixom said Roof’s family has been harassed by the victim, and that he told them to report it to police. He asked the judge to change the no-contact order, saying it would force the family to move. Wixom asked that Roof be placed on probation due to his limited criminal history and cooperation with law enforcement.
Bonneville County Deputy Prosecutor Tanner Crowther said that in both Roof’s and the victim’s version of events, Roof introduced the gun and escalated the situation. Crowther asked that Roof be sentenced to local incarceration.
District Judge Bruce Pickett sentenced Roof to four years of probation and 14 days in jail. He did not change the no-contact order, saying it was clear there was still tension between the neighbors. Pickett agreed to withhold judgment, meaning the sentence could be removed from Roof’s record if he successfully completes probation.