Felon back behind bars after allegedly shooting neighbor

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By Kristen Kitchens

John Ralph “JR” Lott, Jr., a 52-year-old local felon who previously pleaded guilty to pointing a gun at two deputies, was recently returned to jail for aggravated assault just weeks after he was released on bail. from the Coffee County Jail.

According to a copy of an incident report from the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office, on March 22, a deputy was dispatched to a Travelers Rest Circle residence in Douglas after a reported shooting. When the deputy arrived, he contacted Lott, Jr., the alleged shooter, and asked if he had fired a weapon at anyone. Lott, Jr., according to the report, “continued to deny” the charge.

The deputy said that while Lott, Jr. also denied having a gun, he admitted to being “in the woods near the residence” of his neighbor, whom he allegedly shot.

According to Lott, Jr., he asked neighbor Clay McKinnon why he was clearing his land, and McKinnon told him he was on the other side of the firebreak. Once McKinnon explained what piece of land he was clearing, Lott, Jr. said he went home.

However, the victim gave a different story of what happened, saying he heard what sounded like a gunshot but thought it might have been a broken limb and continued to work. A short time later, McKinnon noticed Lott, Jr. in the timber line of the property, holding a shotgun with a pistol grip. He said moments later he saw Lott, Jr. behind a tree with the gun barrel sticking out. He then, according to the report, pointed the gun at McKinnon and fired at the bucket of the excavator McKinnon was using.

McKinnon also showed the adjoining marks of the pellets, which were photographed as evidence. Lott, Jr. was arrested on one count of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Days later, Lott, Jr. was back in court on a bail revocation from his earlier 2020 arrest. On those charges, he was charged with two counts of aggravated assault of a police officer on April 9, 2020. He pleaded guilty as a first offender and was sentenced to ten years, with the first year being served in prison and the remainder of the sentence on probation.

Due to bail being revoked last month, Judge Andy Spivey ordered a guilty verdict on the 2021 assault charges. He was again sentenced to 20 years in total, with five years to be served in a correctional facility and the rest on probation.

Lott, Jr.’s recent aggravated assault case is still ongoing, along with other prior charges.

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