Former governor candidate faces possible life sentence for Fresno County shooting

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Valley man who got more than 76,000 votes for governor last year is now talking about the day he shot a neighbor. The confrontation could land Tye Glenn Champ in prison for life.

Champ used religion in his campaign for governor and he sprinkled it into his testimony Thursday as well. But prosecutors believe they caught him violating one of the Ten Commandments by bearing false witness against a neighbor.

Make no mistake, Tye Champ says. Self-defense is the only reason he shot his neighbor.

"John Price III left me no other option but to fire," he told the jury.

Champ was working on a paving project and accused John Price III of dumping manure on fresh pavement, among other things. But Champ said Thursday morning he knew better than to get into it with 'Big John.'

"I'd heard a lot of stories about this man and it was a man I wanted to stay very far away from," Champ said.

He mentioned an earlier encounter of his own with Price as another reason to stay away.

"I don't know how to explain body language, hostile, very puffed up, you could see it in his facial expressions," he said as he scrunched his face to make an angry look. "It was kind of like that."

Thursday afternoon, Champ described the final confrontation from August 2014. He said someone was interfering with a paving project again, leaving marks he thought came from an ATV. When he saw John Price IV on a four-wheeler, he grabbed a knife and a gun and told the 13-year-old to stop ruining the pavement.

"He said he was going to do whatever he wanted to do," Champ said. "And I cut his tires and said 'No you're not' and then 'Go get your daddy.'"

When Big John came, Champ shot him, then shot into a horse pen, then left without ever calling 911. He says Price lunged at him with a knife and sliced his coveralls.

Other witnesses say that never happened, and prosecutors say Champ initiated the showdown.

Champ already has two felony strikes for an assault with the intent to commit rape conviction and a manslaughter conviction.

The assault is a so-called "super-strike", which means any felony conviction in this case would land Champ in prison for life.

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