A District man was sentenced Friday to 2 1/2 years in prison for threatening his neighbor over a parking space.
According to the government’s evidence, in the afternoon on Feb. 4, 2010, James J. Newton Jr., 51, illegally parked his car in his neighbor's driveway after they had warned him not to park there. Newton’s neighbor called police to the scene in the 1200 block of 17th Street, NE, and officers ticketed the car. They also confiscated the temporary tags on Newton's car because they were forged and expired.
Prosecutors said that when Newton returned to his car, he became enraged once he noticed his tags were missing, barged into the house and began threatening his neighbor, who was home alone.
Newton insinuated that he would burn down his neighbor’s house, among other things, officials said. The neighbor, who said he was terrified, grabbed a machete and demanded that Newton leave his home. Newton eventually returned to his car. The victim also left the house, following behind to tell the 911 operator the direction that Newton was heading. Newton then backed his car into a fence, causing property damage, and drove directly at the victim and tried to hit him with his car.
Newton narrowly missed striking the neighbor with his car. He was arrested a short time later and made a number of threats overheard by the officers about returning to the house to kill his neighbor, saying at one point, “Since I gotta do the time, I’m gonna give them a reason to lock me up. I’m going to go back and choke ... him.”
He also told the officers to check his record because he was serious about killing. The police determined that Newton had a prior conviction for manslaughter in Maryland.
Newton pleaded guilty in July to two counts of felony threats and one count of failure to appear for court. Upon completion of his prison term, Newton will be placed on three years of supervised release. During this time, he is to have no alcohol. In addition, the judge ordered Newton to pay $200 in restitution to the victim for the property damage he caused.