Nathaniel Johnson

An Alabama man is dead after being tied to a tree by the owner of a home that he was allegedly attempting to burglarize, WALA reports.

The incident happened Friday night, and the homeowner, 68-year-old Nathaniel Johnson, was still being questioned as of Saturday.

"I would say this is a very unusual case," Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer said.

According to the sheriff, Johnson was fed up about his home, which had been burglarized before, being targeted and decided to hatch a plan to stop intruders once and for all.

Johnson told investigators that he parked his car down at a neighbor's house so that it would look as if he were not home, and then walked back to his house and sat with the lights off and an old, sideview car mirror positioned near the window.


At around 10 p.m. Friday, 31-year-old Cleveland Gully broke the lock to Johnson's home. The older man tackled Gully to the ground, tied his hands behind his back and brought him to a tree in the yard, where he started to tie him up in a standing position.

Stringer told WALA that Johnson used electrical wire and rope from a clothesline to tie Gully to the tree and then used masking tape, which he "wrapped around [Gully's] mouth and all the way around his head."

Johnson then left to go get a neighbor and call law enforcement. However, by the time deputies arrived, Gully was already dead.


"I don't think he was intending to kill the intruder," Stringer said. "I think he wanted to capture him and have him arrested."

The cause of death is still unknown.

Gully's uncle told WALA that he was surprised by the story, saying that his nephew was not "a violent person that I know of."


And Johnson's family was still trying to sort out what happened themselves.

"He doesn't bother anybody. He'll help you if you need helping, so the family just hates what happened," Johnson's niece, Simone, told WALA. "I know the other guy. His family is hurting, too, but we are also and we hate that, and I hope that we can just get this resolved soon."

Johnson was not facing any charges at the time of his arrest. However, the sheriff told WALA that Johnson would be held for at least 72 hours while officials waited for forensic evidence.


Read more at WALA.