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Filmmaker killed during dispute over shrubs

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   March 30, 2013 at 2:08 PM   |   Comments

March 30 (UPI) -- Emmy-winning filmmaker John Upton Jr. was reportedly shot and killed by his neighbor during an argument over shrubbery.

Neighbor Michael Vilkin admitted to the killing, but claims it was self-defense.

The dispute over trimming the shrubbery and trees on Vilkin's side of the property line has been going on for a year. Upton was reportedly very concerned with maintaining privacy and didn't want Vilkin to trim the greenery.

Vilkin claims he had previously been threatened by Upton, and that was why he brought his gun with him the day of the incident. When he began to trim shrubs, he claims Upton came outside with a gun of his own and threatened him.

At that point Vilkin says he shot Upton in the stomach, but instead of going down right away, the filmmaker continued walking toward Vilkin. Vilkin says he then shot Upton in the head.

The documentary filmmaker is best known for his crusade to rescue orphans from awful conditions during the communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania.

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