PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ A gardening enthusiast was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday for shooting a neighbor to death over a hedge dispute.

James Gallagher pleaded no contest to shooting Ronald Volpe three times with a shotgun in 1994.

``Ron went out to work on the hedges, and he (Gallagher) apparently wasn't too happy about that,'' prosecutor William Ferland said.

The plea to second-degree murder is the equivalent of an admission of guilt under Rhode Island law.

The two men had known each other since childhood and lived in the homes where they grew up. They both liked to garden and occasionally worked on each other's yards, Ferland said.

But the friendship ended about two years before the killing when Gallagher snipped away at Volpe's hedge without permission, Ferland said.

They had little contact until Gallagher spotted Volpe grooming the hedge. He grabbed the shotgun and gunned him down. Gallagher, who is dying of cancer, has offered no explanation.