The long national nightmare that almost no one knew about is over.

The longest and possibly most bizarre stand-off in American history has come to an end.

John Joe Gray, from Trinidad, near Dallas, Texas, was arrested in 1999 for biting a police officer after the cop found he was carrying high-powered rifles without a license during a traffic stop.

Gray paid his bond and has since refused to go to court, hiding inside his 47-acre property for 16 years and vowing to shoot any officer of the law who tries to make him leave.

The bearded grandfather, his children, grandchildren and friends have armed themselves with pistols and rifles and patrolled their grounds ever since – with the county sheriff choosing not to send cops in for fear of them being killed.

But the unusual stalemate has finally come to an end after the authorities decided they just could not be bothered to wait for Gray to emerge any longer.

Here’s the funny thing; charges were dropped by prosecutors two years ago, and no one told either law enforcement or the Gray family until now.

Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt was informed that the charges had been dropped last we, and responded with shrug, “Joe Gray has been in prison out there himself, in my opinion, for 14 years.”

Gray’s self-imposed exile on land without electricity or running water was far longer than the prison sentence he would have faced for the 3rd degree felony.