84-year-old admits shooting neighbor, says it was self defense

John Croft on trial for manslaughter

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. - Walking with a cane, John Croft slowly made his way to the witness stand.  And talked about the day in April 2009 when his neighbor Seth Sigmon confronted him.

"He came up to me and gave me a belly push and called me an old shriveled up son of a b****," said Croft.

Croft says a stroke last year has made it difficult for him to speak.  He also wore headphones to help hear in the courtroom.  He told the jury it all started after he told Sigmon's 9-year-old son to get off his dumpster.

"I may have been a little rude to him," said Croft admitted."

Croft says Sigmon was angry at the way he talked to the boy -- and threatened to throw the then 81-year-old in that dumpster.

That's when Croft says he pulled out his .22 caliber pistol.

"He said what are you going to do old man?  Shoot me?  I said damn right. I will shoot you if you don't go home," said Croft.

Croft says Sigmon came at him, so he fired once in the chest.

Prosecutors say two more shots followed, both hitting Sigmon in back when he was on the ground and not moving.  They also say Sigmon never touched Croft or even threatened him.

Croft says before the shooting, he had gotten along well with Sigmon and his son.  He said he even bought toys for the child when he was younger.

Closing arguments will begin Thursday afternoon. Croft is facing a 30-year sentence if convicted.

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