Argument on Christmas Day ended with elderly man shooting his son to death

Odette Odendaal
Dec 28, 2018
12:41 A.M.
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It was the second time the senior man shot at his son, but it was his last after an argument turned deadly on Christmas Day.


On Christmas Day deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at 2727 Forbes Road in Plant City. An eyewitness called 911 to report the crime around 9:30 pm.

82-year-old Richard Vickery shot his son, Benjamin Vickery, 50, in the chest when an argument escalated to extreme measures. Doctors were unable to save him, and Benjamin died after being rushed to South Florida Baptist Hospital. The tragic result of an 18-year-old feud.


In 2000 Richard and Benjamin got into an argument which escalated considerably after Richard tried to leave. Benjamin followed Richard to his car and began punching and kicking him as he attempted to open the car door.

In self-defense, Richard pulled out a .45 caliber pistol and shot Benjamin in the left shoulder. Benjamin faced multiple charges including false imprisonment, battery, domestic violence, and burglary of a vehicle. The charges were later dropped.


A relative, Patricia Vickery tried to obtain an injunction for protection against Richard at more or less the same time. According to court records, the case got dropped within a few days.

The second time around Richard got arrested on one count of manslaughter with a weapon at the Sheriff’s Office on December 26 around 5:45 am. It is a first-degree felony and punishable by 30 years in prison, with Richard admitting to firing the fatal shot.


According to a witness’s account of events stated in an arrest affidavit, Richard and his son Benjamin began arguing shortly before 9:30 pm. 

Richard then went upstairs and came back down with a gun. Benjamin had fled into the back room, and moments later the witness heard a gunshot and saw Benjamin drop face down on the floor.


The nature of the argument remains unclear, and an investigation is ongoing. Richard continues to be held at the Hillsborough County Jail without bail. Whether Richard has obtained legal council is unclear.

Richard had the choice whether to end his son’s life or not. But another father felt he had no choice when an argument between his two sons turned violent. They were both drunk and began fighting over a billiards game.


30-year-old Joseph grabbed his 26-year-old brother, James in a choke hold and threatened to kill him as he held a knife over his head. The siblings’ father, John tried to talk the situation down, but Joseph refused to let go of his brother. 

His grip tightened around James’s neck, and when he started losing consciousness John knew something had to be done, or James was going to die. John pulled out his revolver and shot Joseph multiple times in the chest. No charges got filed against John.


What would drive a parent to be able to kill their own child? A myriad of questions can be asked in situations like these, and unfortunately, there are too many of them.

The case of Chris Watts, the man who killed his pregnant wife and two daughters need no introduction. It was a horrible tragedy and another example and situation during which a father killed his children, and in this case, his pregnant wife as well.


Chris got sentenced on Monday, November 19, and will never leave his prison cell. Judge Kopcow sentenced him to five life sentences along with an additional 48 years for the unlawful termination of pregnancy, plus 36 years for crimes relating to the disposal of their bodies. He received no possibility of parole.

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