Suspected burglar tied to tree dies, homeowner in custody

LEROY, AL (WKRG) – A homeowner is in custody Sunday afternoon after he captured an alleged burglar at his home, tied him to a tree, and the man later died while still tied to the tree, according to Washington County Sheriff.

The alleged burglar who died Friday night in Leroy was 31-year-old, Cleveland Gulley. The incident happened Friday night around 10:30pm at the home of 68-year-old Nathaniel Johnson on Spurgeon Road.

Sheriff Richard Stringer tells News 5 that Nathaniel Johnson’s mobile home had been previously broken into. Johnson spotted Gulley around his home earlier in the day on Friday. After seeing Gulley, Johnson moved his car to a neighbor’s home and returned back to his home to wait and see if a burglar showed up. Hours later, Gulley showed up and came in through the back door.

The sight of Johnson startled Gulley who started to run out the back door before tripping down the steps. Johnson tracked him down and put homemade handcuffs around his wrist.

Johnson dragged Gulley about 40 feet to a nearby tree and tied him to it with electrical wire and clothes line.

Johnson told deputies that Gulley would not stop talking so he decided to put duct tape over his mouth. Johnson then went to a neighbor’s home to use a phone and call the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies arrived about 10 to 15 minutes after the call and when they arrived Gulley was dead, still tied to the tree.

At this time, Johnson remains in police custody but has not yet been charged. He is being held on a 72-hour investigation.

According to Sheriff Stringer, the case will most likely be sent to a Washington County Grand Jury.

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