Florida Man Charged With Murdering Neighbor Over Wandering Cat
By Jason Hall
October 23, 2021
A Florida man is accused of killing his neighbor over their cat wandering onto his property.
The Marion County Sheriff's Department confirmed Clifton Anthony Bliss Jr., 58, was charged with second-degree homicide on Wednesday (October 20), NBC News reports.
Authorities said Bliss was "upset that his neighbor's cat had wandered over into his yard" before retrieving his rifle, exiting his home, going across the street to the victim's home and shooting his neighbor, Marion County Sheriff Sgt. Paul Bloom told WFLA, a local NBC affiliate.
The victim, identified as James Arland Taylor Jr., was found dead at his home in Central Florida.
A Marion County probable cause affidavit cited a witness who claimed she saw Bliss attempt to find the cat while Taylor followed and asked him to leave.
Bliss then reportedly shot Taylor twice with a .22 rifle, according to the witness' testimony.
Sgt. Bloom said Taylor pleaded, "Please don't kill my cat" before the shots were fired.
A neighbor drove by the scene after the shooting occurred and asked Taylor if he was alright, to which he responded, "No, I'm dying," according to the affidavit.
Neighbors described Bliss as a "troublemaker," "hot head" and someone who was known to be armed and previously threatened people over their pets during past incidents, according to the affidavit.
Bliss' wife told investigators her husband called her immediately after the shooting took place claiming he acted in self defense after Taylor assaulted him.
Cpl. J. Lightle wrote in the affidavit that detectives didn't believe Bliss' account of the incident based on him being known to have "instigate fights with members of the community" in the past.
NBC News reached out to the Marion County Public Defenders Office on Friday (October 22) night but received no response as of Saturday (October 23) morning.
Additionally, attempts to contact the phone number listed under Bliss' name returned zero responses.