Heartbroken Alabama man is fined for placing boxes of flowers on his fiancée’s grave

Heartbroken Alabama man is fined and handed a suspended jail sentence for placing boxes of flowers on his fiancée’s grave being told he was LITTERING

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An Alabama man has been convicted of criminal littering and ordered to pay $300 for repeatedly placing boxes full of flowers on the grave of his fiancée, whose father didn’t like the gifts or approve of their relationship. 

Winston ‘Winchester’ Hagans was convicted Thursday in Auburn city court after the Reverend Tom Ford, the father of Hannah Ford, signed a warrant against him.

Hannah died in a wreck in January 2021 about a month after becoming engaged to Hagans, according to The Opelika-Auburn News

Hagans repeatedly put small planter boxes with flowers on her grave, and her father repeatedly removed them. 

Under Alabama law, citizens can obtain arrest warrants in municipal court under certain circumstances.

Winston 'Winchester' Hagans was convicted of criminal littering and ordered to pay about $300 after placing flower boxes on his fiancée's grave since her death in January of last year

Winston ‘Winchester’ Hagans was convicted of criminal littering and ordered to pay about $300 after placing flower boxes on his fiancée’s grave since her death in January of last year

Reverend Tom Ford, the father of Hannah Ford, who died in a car crash, repeatedly removed the flower boxes before signing a warrant to arrest Hagans

Reverend Tom Ford, the father of Hannah Ford, who died in a car crash, repeatedly removed the flower boxes before signing a warrant to arrest Hagans

Hagans (left) and Ford (right) were only engaged for a month prior to the fatal car accident

Hagans (left) and Ford (right) were only engaged for a month prior to the fatal car accident

Since May 2021, Tom Ford testified, a total of 10 boxes have been placed on the grave, and he either discarded them or sent them back to Hagans.

‘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.’

Ford said he ‘certainly did not’ approve of the relationship between his daughter and Hagans.

The cemetery is owned by the city, and municipal prosecutor Justin Clark said regulations prohibit ‘benches, urns, boxes, shells, toys and other similar articles’ on graves.

City employee and cemetery administrative assistant Sari Card said she told Hagans that Ford didn’t want the boxes on the grave and planned legal action.

‘He said he didn’t care, that every time a box is removed he would make another one to replace it,’ she said.

Hagans made flower boxes for Ford as she preferred living flowers to ones that were already cut off to form bouquets

Hagans made flower boxes for Ford as she preferred living flowers to ones that were already cut off to form bouquets

Hannah Ford, a Republican, had forged a career in state politics, working for Roy Moore's 2017 Senate race as well as Scott Dawson's campaign for governor in 2018

Hannah Ford, a Republican, had forged a career in state politics, working for Roy Moore’s 2017 Senate race as well as Scott Dawson’s campaign for governor in 2018

Hagans made flower boxes for his fiancée as she preferring living flowers to ones that were already cut and part of bouquets. He added pictures of their time spent together on the side of these boxes. 

While the defense argued that flower boxes aren’t litter, Judge Jim McLaughlin, who convicted Hagans in a non-jury trial, said the boxes were ‘a clear case of violation of this deed and violation of littering statute.’

‘The box does not occur naturally in nature. It is a foreign substance. Whether it’s pretty or not is not a consideration for this court,’ he said.

The defense said it would appeal the conviction to circuit court, where a jury can hear the case. 

Aside from a $50 fine and $251 in court costs, Hagans received a 30-day jail sentence that was suspended on the condition he doesn’t place additional flowers on the grave.

Hagans and Hannah Ford first met at a coffee shop in Montgomery, just short of an hour’s drive from Auburn, and connect through their Baptist faith, according to his website

Ford's father, Reverend Tom Ford did not approve of his daughter's relationship with Hagans. The pair first met at a coffee shop in Montgomery and bonded over their Baptist faith

Ford’s father, Reverend Tom Ford did not approve of his daughter’s relationship with Hagans. The pair first met at a coffee shop in Montgomery and bonded over their Baptist faith

Hannah’s career aspirations lied in state politics, the Washington Post reported. She had previously worked on Republican Roy Moore’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2017, of which he lost to Democrat Doug Jones after he was accused of having sexual contact by a woman when she was only 14 years old.

Ford, who considered herself to be Republican, then went on to campaign for evangelist Scott Dawson’s campaign for governor in 2018. Dawson ended up finishing third in the primaries. 

‘She may have been small in stature, but she was a giant when she walked in a room,’ Dawson told AL.com in an interview from 2021. ‘She knew how to deal with senators, members of the House, judicial candidates.’ 

In her obituary, Hannah’s family shared she had a ‘kind heart, happy attitude, great wisdom and many talents.’

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