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13th Jun 2022

Heartbroken man fined and handed suspended jail sentence for placing flowers on fiancée’s grave

Steve Hopkins

Hannah Ford’s father did not approve of the relationship

A man has been convicted of littering and fined $300 (£246) for repeatedly placing boxes of flowers on the grave of his fiancée, whose father didn’t like them or approve of their union.

Winston ‘Winchester’ Hagans was convicted in Auburn city court, Alabama, on Thursday, after Hannah Ford’s father, the Reverend Tom Ford, signed a warrant against him. According to The Opelika-Auburn News, Hannah died in a crash in January 2021, about a month after becoming engaged.

Ford reportedly told the court that since May 2021, 10 boxes of flowers had been placed at his daughter’s grave. He discarded or returned them to Hagans, recalling how one of them was “a rotten piece of wood with some pictures on it”.

Ford, according to reports, said he “certainly did not” approve of the relationship.

Prosecutor Justin Clark told the court that cemetery regulations prohibit “benches, urns, boxes, shells, toys and other similar articles” on graves.

Hagans was told that Ford did not want the boxes on the grave and planned to take him to court, but cemetery administrative assistant Sari Card said Hagans wasn’t bothered, saying he would replace any box that was removed.

Hannah was said to have preferred living flowers to bouquets.

While the defense argued that flower boxes weren’t litter, Judge Jim McLaughlin, said the boxes were “a clear case of violation of this deed and violation of littering statute”.

Hagans is said to be appealing the decision to a circuit court, where a jury can hear the case.

Hagans was fined $50, ordered to pay $251 in court costs, and handed a 30-day jail sentence suspended on the condition he doesn’t place additional flowers on the grave.

Hagans and Ford met at a coffee shop in Montgomery, just short of an hour’s drive from Auburn, and connect through their Baptist faith, according to his website.

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