Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Elderly Pasco County man accused of shooting and killing neighbor, 29, whose pit bull killed his goats

SHADY HILLS — The man was shirtless, belly to the sun, near a patch of purple wildflowers. He laid where he fell, splayed, just before 1 p.m. Saturday, between the road and his neighbor's chain-link fence.

Seth Sigmon, 29, lived on the dead-end side of Connie Court in Shady Hills. Neighbors say he has a son and that his wife was getting out of the shower when he was slain.

Authorities say his next-door neighbor, 81-year-old John Croft, shot Sigmon multiple times with a .22 revolver.

"The old man didn't seem the type to go off the handle," said Doyle Young, 68, who lives down the road. None of the neighbors referred to Croft by his name, just as "the old man."

"But when you get mad, in those first few seconds, people can make some terrible decisions," Young said.

Young said he heard they were arguing about some neighborhood children; playing, maybe running a bit wild and loud. He said Croft's wife is disabled, "basically an invalid." Young saw Croft about 30 minutes before the shooting. They were up at the corner of U.S. 41 and Bowman Road, on a grassy area that residents use for a communal yard sale.

Young was at the intersection selling "some junk" when Croft stopped by, but minutes later he said he had to go home to take care of his wife.

Young packed up and came home to a bustling crime scene.

"For the old man to shoot someone," Young said, "he must have gone off the deep end."

Julie Mathis, 66, said she knew Croft had a quick temper but never foresaw something like this.

"I just can't believe it," said Mathis, who has lived in this northern Pasco County neighborhood for more than two decades.

She said trouble has been brewing for some time. She said Sigmon's pit bull got loose one day, went into Croft's yard and killed his three pet goats.

"It was terrible," she said.

Both men's homes are set back from the road and surrounded by fences. Croft's home is white with a lattice front porch and an American flag swaying from the roof. Sigmon's home is owned by his parents, according to property records. A group of people who said they were colleagues of Sigmon's hovered near the crime scene tape, but declined to comment for this story.

Neither man had much of a criminal record in Florida before Saturday. Sigmon was arrested in Tampa in 2001 for driving under the influence with property damage and then in 2002, for violating his probation.

Croft's only arrest was in Hills­borough County in 1984 for disorderly conduct.

Croft is a registered Republican. Sigmon is a Democrat.

As the afternoon wore on, Croft sat handcuffed in the back of a patrol car, waiting to be taken to the Land O'Lakes jail. He is charged with manslaughter.

With the patrol car parked in Sigmon's driveway, Croft — balding with a white wispy fringe — could see his neighbor's body, covered and uncovered with a white sheet, as a forensic team took photos.

The old man put his hands over his face.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com.

Elderly Pasco County man accused of shooting and killing neighbor, 29, whose pit bull killed his goats 04/25/09 [Last modified: Saturday, April 25, 2009 10:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  2. Minors also a training ground for umpires with big-league dreams

    The Heater

    Umpire Tom Fornarola, 23, left, and Taylor Payne, 24, facing, talk before the start of the Gulf Coast League game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland, Fla. on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.
  3. In Florida, nation's only lightning center closes after DARPA cuts funding (w/video)

    Environment

    University of Florida professor Martin Uman usually spends much of this summer at an old Army base about an hour northeast of Gainesville, shooting rockets at thunderclouds, then measuring the bright flashes of lightning that followed.

    Rocket-and-wire triggered lightning at the University of Florida's International Center for Lightning Research and Testing, which recently lost federal funding. A rocket trailing a grounded wire is launched toward an active thunderstorm at the ICLRT. One launch is from a tower, one from ground. When the wire is about as high as the Empire State Building, lightning is induced to strike the top of the wire, much as it strikes tall objects like the ESB. Interestingly, the cloud charge source is about 3 miles high, so a 300 yard-long wire can cause a 3 mile or more long lightning.  After that, there are several normal tortuous strokes ( downward leaders from the cloud charge/upward return strokes) which can be seen as the wind blows the individual strokes to the right. The time between strokes is about 50 thousands of a second. Between some strokes, continuing current can be seen. Continuing current is what generally starts forest fires. [Photo by Dr. Dustin Hill]
  4. Editorial: Reasonable clarity on gambling in Florida

    Editorials

    Gambling expansion strategies — and misfires — are nearly an annual ritual in Florida. There were the eight counties that voted to allow slot machines but were blocked by the Florida Supreme Court. There was the governor's $3 billion deal with the Seminole Tribe in 2015 that was never approved by the …

    Gov. Rick Scott agreed to a much simpler deal with the Seminole Tribe that embraces the status quo instead of expansion. And that’s a good thing.
  5. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]