A TRIAL date in March has been set for a man who was arrested for dumping trash after he laid flowers at his fiancée’s grave.
Hannah Ford was killed in a car crash on January 17, 2021, the same day she chose the venue for her wedding with her fiance, Winchester Hagans.
“She was the most beautiful, loving, sweet and full of life person I have ever met,” Hagans said.
The two met in 2019 and got engaged in December 2020. Hagans recalled the last day he spent with Hannah, choosing the location of their wedding in Notasulga, Alabama.
He said he kissed Hannah goodbye before she drove home to Montgomery.
“The last things I heard her say were, ‘I love you, and I hate you,’ he said.
Hanna was only 27 years old when she was hit and killed by three cars.
“She is someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. We were very happy,” Hagans said.
To commemorate Hannah’s life, Hagans built a flower box filled with the couple’s engagement photos to place on Hannah’s grave at Auburn Memorial Park Cemetery.
According to Hagans, the couple had a strained relationship with some of Hannah’s family because someone kept throwing flowers away.
Hagans continued to rebuild the box to put it back in Hanna’s grave. He said her family never directly told him to stay away from her grave or stop leaving flowers.
“I know her soul is in Heaven with Jesus, and we will be together in the new world, but this is where her body is. I just grew up being taught that graves are important,” he said.
On January 24, 2022, Hagans was stopped by police while on his way to preach at a church in eastern Alabama.
“The officer came back and said there was an arrest warrant for me, handcuffing me by the side of the road Sunday morning,” he said.
Hannah’s father, Hayden Ford, signed an arrest warrant for Hagan for littering. Crime can be defined as: Intentionally littering any public or private property or in any public or private water body without permission to do so.
The complaint, dated January 4, reads: “Hayden Thomas Ford is the property owner of his daughter Hannah Ford’s cemetery plot located at Memorial Park in Auburn, Alabama.
“About 7-8 boxes of flowers were placed on Hannah’s grave without his permission. Winston Hagans was advised not to place unauthorized items on Hannah’s grave.
“Winston posted on social media ‘someone keeps throwing away the flowers I grow…but every time he throws away, I plant more”. The flower box with pictures of Winston Hagans and Hannah Ford is attached around the box”.
According to the Auburn Police Department, certain burial plots “are owned and controlled by the deceased’s family and are therefore private property.
“Any citizen has the right to criminal prosecution when there is sufficient probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed.”
In a statement, Hagans attorney Jeff Tickal said his client pleaded not guilty.
“Rick Hagans and his family are longtime friends, and I am delighted to represent Winchester in this case. Winchester is an amazing young man, and we look forward to telling his story and reversing this crime committed against him,” said Tickal.
He added that the trial date is March 17.
Hagans said he still visits Hannah’s grave regularly. “I just wanted to be able to put flowers on her grave,” he said.
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https://www.the-sun.com/news/4706604/alabama-man-arrested-fiancee-grave-littering/ I was arrested for placing flowers at my fiancé’s grave