Judge finds man guilty of criminal littering after leaving flowers on fiancé’s grave
(WTVM/Gray News) - A judge has ruled in a case that has garnered national attention after an Alabama man was arrested for leaving flowers on his fiancé's grave.
WTVM reports Winston Hagans was charged for littering after he left a flower box on her grave at the Auburn’s Memorial Park Cemetery.
On Thursday, Judge Jim McLaughlin found Hagans guilty of criminal littering and ordered him to pay a $50 charge for littering and a court fine of $250.
According to the court, Hagans is not facing jail time if he agrees not to place any more boxes on the gravesite.
The defense team said it plans to appeal the court’s decision.
Hagans lost his fiancé, Hannah Ford, in a car crash in January 2021, a month after he proposed.
He said Hannah Ford didn’t like cutting flowers from a florist. She preferred living flowers. So, he made a flower box with real flowers and pictures to be left on her grave at the cemetery.
However, that didn’t go over well with Hannah Ford’s father, Tom Ford, who signed a warrant against Hagans and ultimately got him arrested for littering.
Tom Ford said he took ownership of the plot sight from his brother-in-law Cliff Knight and got rid of the flower boxes that were being placed without his permission.
Hagans said his fiancé's father never approved of their relationship, with Tom Ford testifying in court that he did not approve of the two dating.
Hagans admitted he asked the city for permission to place the boxes on the grave and was told it would be okay unless the family objected.
According to Auburn Parks and Recreation, settees, urns, boxes, shells, toys and other similar items may not be placed or maintained on any lot or grave.
Sari Card, an administrative assistant with Auburn Parks and Recreation, said she informed Hagans to stop replacing the thrown-away boxes and let him know that if he did not stop, there would be legal action that could lead to an arrest.
Judge McLaughlin told Hagans to honor his fiancé in another way while ruling and gave his condolences to all parties involved in Hannah Ford’s death.
Hagans said he appreciates the support he has received from the community during the case.
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