An Alabama man was convicted of littering and fined $300 for placing boxes of flowers on the grave of his fiancée. Hannah Ford died in a car accident in January 2021, just one month after getting engaged to Winston Hagans.
Hagans began placing the flower boxes in Ford’s grave against the wishes of her father, Rev. Tom Ford, who did not approve of their relationship.
When Ford saw the first box of flowers and pictures, he threw it in the trash.
“The first box, when I saw where it was, I picked it up, and it fell apart,” Ford said. “It was a rotten piece of wood with some pictures on it, so I discarded it.”
When Hagans saw the box was gone, he replaced it with another one. Ford was not happy and continued to remove the boxes from his daughter’s grave. Some of them he sent back to Hagans while discarding others. Ford said Hagan placed ten different boxes of flowers on the grave since May 2021.
Eventually, Ford got tired of dealing with the boxes and filed for a citizens arrest warrant against Hagans, arguing that the flower boxes violated Auburn’s municipal code.
During a court hearing, municipal prosecutor Justin Clark noted that city regulations prohibit people from decorating graves with “benches, urns, boxes, shells, toys and other similar articles.”
Judge Jim McLaughlin ruled that the flower boxes were considered litter and a violation of the ordinance. He fined Hagans $300 and also sentenced him to a 30-day suspended jail sentence. As long as Hagans does not place another flower box on the grave, he will not be required to go to prison.
Hagans said that he plans to appeal the ruling and wants the case heard by a jury.