Local businessman pleads not guilty to aggravated menacing

Police
Police

Defense attorney says John Stafford was within his rights.

A local businessman pleaded not guilty Friday to allegations of aggravated menacing and his attorney says that the man was within his rights during a confrontation with golfers.

John Stafford, the owner of Stafford Jewelers, entered his plea in Xenia Municipal Court. He is accused of threatening golfers with a gun behind his Sugarcreek Twp. home on May 24.

His attorney, Jeremy Tomb, told the Dayton Daily News they believe there are many defenses they can deploy to prove his innocence.

“Our position is that he was on his own property, we can clearly demonstrate that, and the video of the young people claiming to be victims prove they were being aggressive towards him,” Tomb said. “I am confused why we are charged to begin with.”

Tomb said Stafford never left his property during the alleged confrontation.

ExploreJohn Stafford cited with aggravated menacing for allegedly threatening golfers with gun

Police were dispatched to Stafford’s home around 4:30 p.m. May 24 after several 911 calls were made about the incident.

“A guy pulled a gun on us,” a 911 caller said in a recording. “He came across the course with his dog, threatened us … We’re playing golf and he pulled a pistol on us. He’s threatening everybody.”

Someone in the background of the 911 call can be heard yelling at Stafford and a dog can be heard barking.

A neighbor also called 911 saying Stafford was verbally attacking golfers during the Denver Smith Memorial Golf Outing held by the Dayton Homebuilders Association.

A message to Xenia city prosecutors was not immediately returned Monday.

Tomb said the golfers were driving carts on a portion of the golf course where that is forbidden and is a part of Stafford’s property. He said there are signs posted that state golf carts are supposed to stay on the cart path and out of the grassy area.

“But they were cruising around the property,” Tomb said. “They were kind of chasing each other.”

A photo from the Greene County Auditor’s Website shows that Stafford’s property line extends through the course all the way to the path. The portion of Stafford’s property is between the tee box and green, but not an area golfers should aim to land their tee shot.

Tomb said that’s where Stafford’s leach field is and that it’s been damaged by golf carts in the past.

In a statement to police, obtained through Tomb, Stafford said he was taking his dog out for a walk in the backyard when he saw a group of men “driving crazily.” He said he yelled out to one of the golfers that golf carts were not allowed there and he was cursed at.

Stafford in the statement said one of the golfers charged him with a golf club in hand. Stafford said he drew his weapon once the man was on his property and within 6 feet of him.

Stafford in the report said the man stopped when the weapon came out and he then put it away once he thought it was safe.

“I never took the safety off of my gun,” the statement says.

Tomb said there are several defenses that could be used including the Castle Doctrine, Ohio’s new Stand Your Ground Law and self-defense.

A next court date in the case has not been set.

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