His neighbors, the Sheys, declined to comment, but their lawyer, Frank McElroy, said Johnson had no one to blame but himself.
McElroy said the Sheys had proposed a compromise on the location of the house before it was built, but Johnson never responded.
The decision to build despite noncompliance with the zoning laws, said McElroy, "was a slap in the face (of the Sheys) with a cricket bat. He created his own problems."
Johnson summed up the long-running dispute as a "tragedy." He said a few years ago his wife "left after all the publicity. She couldn't take it anymore. She couldn't take me in my frame of mind."
Alan Burke is a reporter for The Salem, Mass., News. Contact him at email@example.com.