A Massachusetts man is facing the possibility of 20 years in prison in connection with the bizarre beating death of a grandfather, sparked by a dispute over lost golf balls.

Robert Carnathan (photo: Quincy Patriot Ledger)

A grand jury in Norfolk County has indicted Robert Carnathan, 54, on a charge of manslaughter for the November incident which left 79-year-old Donald King dead.

According to the Patriot Ledger of Quincy, witnesses say the two men – both of whom lived near the President’s Golf Course – got into an argument over golf balls. Both were known to collect and sell balls which had been abandoned.

Prosecutors say when King reportedly started taking some of the golf balls, Carnathan threw stones at King and beat him on the head and legs with a cane.

Nearby golfers witnessing the melee rushed in to stop the fight.

Carnathan, who has used a cane to walk for several years, claims he acted in self-defense.

Last month, the chief medical examiner in Massachusetts ruled that King died after suffering cardiac arrest during the altercation.

“We are still living on a day-to-day basis without my father,” Kathy Barry, King’s eldest daughter, told the Patriot Ledger. “It continues to be as difficult for us today as it was the day my father was killed.”

Barry has five children and 10 grandchildren, and is hoping the case can be over with as soon as possible.

“The word people always use is closure, but there is none for this,” Barry said. “This is going to be a long process. We hope justice will prevail, and in the meantime we just have to wait for that point to come.”

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