Man Sentenced for Blowing Neighbor’s Head Off Over Mailbox

An Indiana man has been handed a 60-year prison sentence for fatally shooting his septuagenarian neighbor over a minor property dispute. The incident occurred when the victim, Bob Adair, was sitting in his pickup truck. The shooter, 58-year-old Randy Steven Small, used a 12-gauge shotgun to commit the crime.

The dispute was over a small piece of land where Adair had placed a post for his mailbox. Small was sentenced on Monday for the murder that took place on September 15, 2021. The incident happened in the afternoon on a remote stretch of Helms Road in Brown County, Indiana, where there are only four residences and limited cellphone and radio reception.

According to the prosecution, Small became enraged when Adair placed building material on the disputed property, leading to Small removing and running over Adair’s mailbox. The dispute escalated when Small, driving his large farm tractor, shot Adair through the driver’s side window of his Ford F-150, then drove away, leaving Adair to die in the hot September sun.

A neighbor later testified that she had never seen Small carrying a firearm while operating his tractor before the incident. She noted that Small only armed himself when he intended to kill a pest.

The police were alerted to the incident through a series of reports. Small’s brothers initially reported the incident to the Indiana State Police Pendleton Post, who then relayed the information to the Indiana State Police Dispatch, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch, and finally to Captain Mike Moore, who informed the officers on the scene.

Upon arrival, the police found Small barricaded in his home, leading to a standoff that lasted an hour. Small eventually surrendered after one of his brothers called him and urged him to turn himself in. He was taken into custody and sent to the hospital for a mental health evaluation.

It wasn’t until 10 hours after the murder that Small’s brothers reported the shooting. At the scene, police found Adair dead in his truck, which was in gear but had run out of gas. His foot was still on the brake and his hands were folded peacefully in his lap.

Small was arrested the following day and claimed self-defense, alleging that he believed Adair was exiting the truck and was armed. However, the prosecution stated that Adair was not armed and photographic evidence did not support Small’s claim.

The jury deliberated for just under four hours before returning a unanimous guilty verdict on a single murder count on July 25. Adair, a beloved father and skilled carpenter, was known for his works in the arts district of Nashville, Indiana, and his love for bluegrass music.