Dinner dispute between friends turns deadly

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MARION CENTER, Pa. —

What started as a dispute over dinner ended with one man fatally shooting a longtime friend.

Prosecutors said that James Buterbaugh, 59, and his friend David Ackerson, 51, had been drinking for most of Sunday. Investigators said that Buterbaugh became angry when his mother gave Ackerson a plate of food.

"It involved dinner, basically," Indiana County District Attorney Pat Doughterty said. "The defendant's mother had provided the victim and the defendant a plate of food."

"(James) left and Dave followed him," friend Robert Lydic said. "He told him to get out of his face, and apparently he wouldn't. And he said, 'If you don't get out of my face, I'll shoot you.'"

The fight started at Ackerson's home and ended just before 6 p.m. along a gas well access road about a half-mile away in Grant Township. That's when, according to police, Buterbaugh shot Ackerson in the upper abdomen.

Coroner Jerry Overman said Ackerson was later pronounced dead at Indiana Regional Medical Center.

Buterbaugh was arrested by state police at the scene on homicide and related charges and is being held in the Indiana County Jail without bond.

Police told Channel 11's Joe Holden that Buterbaugh provided prosecutors with a taped confession.

"I believe he referred to it as the victim mooching off his mother, and he didn't appreciate that," Dougherty said.  

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