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Brothers accused of setting fire to pit bull will be tried as adults, judge in Baltimore rules

Two brothers accused of burning to death the pit bull who became known as Phoenix will face felony charges as adults.

Travers Johnson and Tremayne Johnson, both 17, appeared Tuesday in juvenile court in Baltimore, where  a judge ruled they will be tried as adults, WBAL reported.

The teens are charged with dousing the dog with gasoline, then setting her on fire on May 27 in the 1700 block of Calhoun Street in southwest Baltimore. The 2-year-old pit bull suffered burns over 98 percent of her body.

The dog, rescued by a police officer, died four days later at a Pennsylvania animal hospital. Her death led to the formation of a city task force to review animal cruelty laws.

Attorney Caroline Griffin, who chairs the animal abuse task force, observed yesterday’s court proceedings.

“What impressed me was how seriously the state’s attorney’s office is taking this case, as well as the court. The court listened to testimony for hours,” she said. “Juveniles who commit these type of crimes are just so much more likely to commit violent crime in the future, and I think people are aware of that, and that’s why this case is so important.”

Prosecutors said both brothers were involved with gangs, had chronic truancy issues and previous probation violations. Both also face drug charges.

Assistant state’s attorney Jennifer Rallo told the judge that video and witness accounts prove the brothers tortured and mutilated Phoenix. She said the brothers used a vacant home at 1616 Gilmore St. to keep pit pulls, and that police found signs of dogs and gang activity there.

Defense attorneys wanted the case to stay in the juvenile system, where they said rehabilitation services and programs were available. They argued that Tremayne Johnson has health issues and suffers from depression and brain tumors for which he recently underwent brain surgery.


Comment from Patty
Time November 4, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Good for you Your Honor. These “kids” at 17 know better than to set any living creature on fire. There is evil in the world and these twins reek of it.

Comment from Baltimoregal
Time November 5, 2009 at 11:16 am

“She said the brothers used a vacant home at 1616 Gilmore St. to keep pit pulls, and that police found signs of dogs and gang activity there.”
Not a one-time incident. What a surprise?

Comment from FLKPits
Time November 5, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Funny where all these “kill pitbulls” freaks are now eh?
Good…these kids should be put away forever, lest they escalate to even worse crimes!

Comment from lindaCanada
Time November 9, 2009 at 2:21 pm

the punishment should fit the crime / they should be lashed every day of their sentence / there is no excuse for CRUELTY to animals or humans / they like violence so much send them to the war overseas / depression , and brain tumour is not an excuse / millions of people suffer from the same conditions & for the defence to use this for an excuse is insulting to these people and saying they are as nonhumam as these pieces of trash

Comment from Belle
Time February 11, 2011 at 9:12 am

The death penalty (via hanging or electrocution) would simply be insufficient for an atrocity of this nature. What would you like to bet this isn’t their first episode of the unimaginable and inexpicable. Attention folks, here is your next Jeffrey Dahmer–two of them! They should be exterminated. Clean the neighborhood up a little.