Neighborhood Feud in Ohio Turns Violent

The Associated Press
Thursday, July 20, 2006; 3:55 AM

ELYRIA, Ohio -- By all accounts, neighbors Paul Hashman and Darrell Oskins lived peacefully for many years in this Cleveland suburb. That all changed when Oskins did a little home remodeling.

Oskins, a 54-year-old steelworker who worked on antique cars, built a garage in 1998 to accommodate his hobby.

Though the city said it complied with zoning regulations, the garage enraged Hashman, 84. He complained about its size, closeness to the property line, and that it blocked his view.

The men's bickering erupted into violence in January 2004 when Hashman wounded Oskins with a .22-caliber pistol as Oskins used a snow blower.

Now the two neighbors are continuing their feud in court.

Hashman faces at least 13 years in prison if convicted of attempted murder and felonious assault with a firearm. His trial began Monday.

Hashman, with a white crew cut, gray blazer and open-collar white shirt, has sat ramrod-straight at the defense table, staring steadily at Oskins during the neighbor's testimony.

Oskins stared back at Hashman on several occasions but mostly addressed his comments and glances to attorneys and jurors.

According to Oskins, the attack occurred without provocation as Oskins, who had waited until midmorning to avoid making noise too early, used his snow blower. Hashman approached him, shot him in the shoulder and the leg and kept firing as he fell to the ground, Oskins said.

Oskins managed to kick Hashman and send him to the ground, where the two struggled over the weapon, Oskins said. Oskins' wife heard the commotion, called police and smacked Hashman with a wooden goose porch ornament.

"He came out of his house and started shooting," Oskins, occasionally struggling to keep his composure, told the jury.

"Did he say anything to you?" asked assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Michael Kinlin.

"Nothing was said," according to Oskins.

The wounds from six or seven shots left Oskins in the hospital for almost five months, including two months in a drug-induced coma. He lost a kidney, his appendix, and part of his colon. He has been unable to work.

Hashman, who plans to testify in his defense, has said Oskins had been harassing him and that he felt threatened by the snow blower. Hashman's attorney, Michael Duff, tried to say on the stand that a snow blower could be a deadly weapon, but the defense didn't claim Oskins made a move to harm Hashman with the machine.

Police had been called to separate the neighbors on numerous occasions. Before the shooting, the worst was a 2003 confrontation between Hashman and the son, daughter and wife of Oskins, who accused Hashman of threatening the daughter with a gun. Hashman got the worst of it with a broken nose and a $318 fine for assault.

© 2006 The Associated Press