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Shooting follows neighbors’ tiff over leaves

By Jeannie Nuss
Globe Correspondent / October 6, 2009

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A Randolph man shot his neighbor in the stomach after the two quarreled about dumping leaves, police said.

Christopher Leonard pleaded not guilty yesterday to armed assault with intent to murder. The 38-year-old was released on $25,000 cash bail following his arraignment in Quincy District Court, according to a spokesman for Norfolk District Attorney William R. Keating.

Leonard and his neighbor, John Rota, were bickering about a property dispute at about 10 p.m. Friday, police said. Leonard allegedly told Rota he would like to dump leaves on Rota’s lawn, according to police.

One of the neighbors tossed a beer can in the middle of the fight, and Leonard shot Rota with a 9mm handgun, police Lieutenant Richard Crowley said. Crowley said he did not know whether the men had been drinking.

Leonard called police to report the shooting, Crowley said. Rota was transported to Boston Medical Center and has been released, police said.

Police found “quite a few guns,’’ including a 9mm, in Leonard’s home, Crowley said. Leonard has a license to carry firearms, Crowley said.

Leonard has to move out of his Pleasant Street house because of a court order to stay away from his neighbor’s home, said David Traub, spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney. Leonard must also remain drug and alcohol free and check in with a probation officer twice a week. He is due back in court Nov. 12, Traub said.

Leonard did not return a phone message seeking comment last night. There was no working number listed for Rota.