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Lawrence County investigator Lt. Tim McWhorter and Maj. Harold Knighten record damage caused by a man on a backhoe Sunday on Alabama 101 in Hatton.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Lawrence County investigator Lt. Tim McWhorter and Maj. Harold Knighten record damage caused by a man on a backhoe Sunday on Alabama 101 in Hatton.

Backhoe mayhem
Man allegedly rams homes, vehicles, threatens wife

By Melanie B. Smith
msmith@decaturdaily.com · 340-2468

HATTON — A man on a backhoe rammed two mobile homes with children and a pregnant woman inside, smashed his estranged wife’s car, hit a truck as its owner tried to speed away and threatened people with a gun Sunday, according to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.

The rampage by John Mark Borden, 58, of Hatton mostly involved property owned by him and his estranged wife, Jeannie Borden, 49, at 2175 Alabama 101, said Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell.

At one point, according to Jeannie Borden, her husband rammed the porch of a mobile home while their 15-year-old daughter stood on it yelling, “Stop this, stop this!”

Mark Borden also ran his backhoe at Deputy Scott Christy while Christy was in his car, but Christy was able to back out of the way, Mitchell said.

No one was hurt in the mayhem, the sheriff said.

Jeannie Borden said afterward that she and her husband are getting a divorce. She said Mark Borden started the melee by breaking a glass door on her mobile home just before she and their children got home late Sunday morning.

Neighbor Johnny Parker, 43, said he heard glass breaking and realized Mark Borden was trying to break in. Parker said he called Jeannie Borden and learned she was on her way home.

Jeannie Borden said she had taken out a restraining order on her husband.

She had moved out with their children and put a mobile home on property they owned jointly, 500 feet from their previous home, where Mark Borden still lives.

Lawrence County deputies took Mark Borden to jail Saturday and issued him a protection from abuse order, according to the sheriff. Mitchell said Mark Borden made bond.

According to Jeannie Borden, an officer advised her to take their children and leave for the weekend.

She said that when she got home Sunday, she saw her husband sitting behind her home on his backhoe.

Going ballistic

A worker secures the backhoe that was allegedly used to destroy property near Hatton.
Daily photo by John Godbey
A worker secures the backhoe that was allegedly used to destroy property near Hatton.
“When we pulled up, it went completely ballistic,” she said.

After she and the daughter and son, 11, were inside, he allegedly smashed the back porch so hard that they fell to the floor. Next, they ran to the mobile home the Bordens rent to Parker, and he rammed the front of that residence, Jeannie Borden said, even as his daughter stood on the porch. She said she was able to pull her daughter back inside.

Parker said that his pregnant daughter and her fiancé were inside with him when Parker started ramming the mobile home.

Parker said that he went outside to confront Mark Borden, but Borden allegedly pulled out a handgun and pointed it. Parker said he ran to the back of the mobile home.

Parker said he got into his 1994 Ford truck to try to move it away, but Mark Borden came after him.

Parker said his tires were spinning and he couldn’t escape.

The backhoe hit the side of the truck and cracked the windshield. Parker said he finally was able to drive away to a nearby church parking lot.

Meanwhile, Mark Borden allegedly rammed and smashed Jeannie Borden’s 2005 Chevrolet Equinox, finally flipping it upside down. He also allegedly threatened her with the gun, she said.

“The kids were screaming bloody murder,” she said.

Besides battering vehicles, demolishing porches and punching holes in mobile homes, Mark Borden allegedly ran over a dog pen, tore down a utility pole and mangled a shed. Mitchell said Borden circled around on Alabama 101 with his backhoe. He tried to escape on it, but officers were able to tackle him and get him off.

Arrest made

Christy, Deputy Charles Hamby, Lt. Tim McWhorter and state trooper Mark Wiesner made the arrest, the sheriff said.

Mark Borden faces three counts of domestic violence, one count of domestic violence/menacing, two counts of criminal mischief first degree, one count of driving while intoxicated, four charges of reckless endangerment, one count of violating a protection from abuse order and one count for unlawful carrying a pistol.

He is being held without bond in the Lawrence County jail. Mark Borden’s gun was a 9 mm pistol.

Held without bond

Jeannie Borden said she has frequently complained to the sheriff’s office but “they kept saying there was nothing they could do.”

She said she did not move farther away because she had little money and did not want to go to the Hope Place women’s shelter because she “had heard stories.”

Mitchell said that his office needs follow-through with the court system by domestic-violence victims to “give us something to work with.”

Parker said his pregnant daughter was hysterical during the spree but seemed calm Sunday evening.

“If someone could have videoed it, it could have been made into a movie,” he said of the melee.

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