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Man accused of shooting neighbor, running her over with lawn mower

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WILLARD, Ohio -- A $1 million bond has been issued for a man accused of shooting his neighbor to death and then running her over with a lawn mower.

James Blair (Photo Credit: Huron County Jail)

James Blair (Photo Credit: Huron County Jail)

According to the Huron County Sheriff's Office, deputies were called at just after 11 p.m. and told that shots were fired at a home in the 4300 block of Kirkwood Drive Tuesday.

When deputies arrived at the scene, Linda Ciotto, 62, was found with a gunshot wound to the head. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was determined that Ciotto was using her lawn mower at the time of the incident. James Blair, 50, is accused of shooting Ciotto and then running over her left arm with the mower.

Blair reportedly barricaded himself in his home after authorities arrived. The Mansfield ASORT team and the Richland County Hostage Negotiator's Team were called to assist Willard police and fire departments.

Blair stayed in his home for nearly five hours as negotiators tried to get him to surrender. Tear gas was then used in an effort to push him out of the home.

He was arrested shortly after.

Blair faces a charge of murder and is in Huron County Jail on $1 million bond.

The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and two search warrants were executed -- one for Blair's home and one for Ciotto's home.

"This has been a difficult crime scene to work due to the heat and deputies overheating," said Sheriff Dane Howard. "We have had strong support from the community with food, water and other offers of assistance since we have been on scene for over two days now. I am sincerely grateful for all the support we have received."

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