Man Burns House Over Lawn: Phillip Roger Bennett Razes Neighbor’s Home; 5 Worst Neighbors of All Time
A Georgia man allegedly burned down his neighbor's house because his lawn was too long.
Police said that Phillip Roger Bennett, 58, had been feuding with his across-the-street neighbor Marty Corbitt in Cartersville, a suburb of Atlanta, Ga. Corbitt said that he's lived in the house for four years, and he's always gotten along with Bennett -- until last week, when Bennett told Corbitt that the grass on his lawn was too long.
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"Slapped me across the face and said, 'Mow your grass,'" Corbitt said. "My grass was too tall for him. I was going to cut it today, and then he set my house on fire."
Corbitt said he was inside his house watching TV with his daughter Kylie, 3, when Bennett walked over and kicked Corbitt's door, telling him he's "got five seconds to come outside."
"I turn around and call 911," Corbitt said. "And while I'm on the phone he comes back with two gas cans in his hand."
Corbitt said Bennett started pouring the gas in the kitchen, and then lit it.
"And flames were everywhere. I ran back to my little girl's room, grabbed her, ran out the back door over to my neighbor's and watched the house burn."
Corbitt and his daughter escaped unharmed, but the house and everything in it were destroyed. His daughter Kylie was upset about losing her tricycle, but neighbors quickly bought her a new one.
"The mean man burned my house," Kylie told a local news station.
Bennett is now in police custody, but hasn't yet been charged.
While it's hard to imagine what could be more un-neighborly than Bennett's behavior, there are a few other notables in the Worst Neighbor Ever hall of fame that give Bennett a run for his money.
In 2006, in West Yorkshire, England, a woman was accused of turning her idyllic town into a "hamlet of horrors." Jeanne Wilding, 57, was described as "running a campaign of hatred and pure evil" against her neighbors. Her crimes? Damaging cars, placing dead animals in the road, and blasting a choral work about "rape, pillage and the trashing of villages."
Gus and Lucille Midura, a Staten Island, N.Y., couple in their eighties, used to enjoy their side yard with its screen house. But in 2007, they could no longer go outside their own home after Paula Bolli, their next-door neighbor, dumped a truckload of fresh horse manure on her own lawn. Then a second dump truck arrived with even more manure. Then, pretty soon, hordes or rats discovered the manure heap.
"We can't even sit outside," lamented Lucille Midura.
The couple claimed that Bolli had been harassing them for 25 years in a variety of ways. Other neighbors complained of bright lights from Bolli's property shining into their windows.
Dennis and Sandra Hawes of Fleetwood, England, spent two months building a sun terrace on the roof of their house. After it was completed, Charles Hart, their neighbor, became upset that he was not consulted about the terrace, which overlooked his garden.
Not that he mentioned those concerns when they were actually building the terrace.
To protect his precious garden from being overlooked, Hart built a 16-foot-high, 26-foot-long wall between the two properties, blocking the Hawes family's view of the Irish Sea from their new terrace.
Last year, Craig Fontaine and Kathleen Melker's life in the peaceful town of Warwick, R.I., was ruined by their neighbors in some interesting ways. Lynne Taylor and Christopher Levasseur, their neighbors, allegedly shot at the couple's home, damaged their car and kayak, and tried to kill their cat by trapping it in a truck on a hot day.
Fontaine and Melker also claimed that the neighbors' cockatoo would scream expletives for over 16 hours a day. The neighbors also painted a cockatoo on the side of the house, apparently to mock Fontaine and Melker.
"It's disturbing and makes our whole lives absolutely hell," said Melker. The couple was granted a restraining order, but said the harassment still continued.
Alexander Alexandrov just couldn't take it anymore. In 2009, the 45-year-old Bulgarian had heard his neighbor Martin Kromov blast Robbie Williams' "Angels" one too many times. Kromov had been pumping out the 1999 Williams song constantly, for over a week, at top volume.
So Alexandrov murdered Kromov. "I was in constant terror of his music. I could no longer think about anything but making him turn it off," he told the court, before receiving a 16-year prison sentence.
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