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Tag: melissa lockhart

Is 3-year sentence justice for Buddy?

040110_Buddy_the_dog_2_680x480Steven Clay Romero, the man who dragged a dog named Buddy to his death at the Colorado National Monument, received the maximum sentence of three years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Romero, 38, of Grand Junction, will spend three years in federal prison, followed by 12 months of supervised parole for aggravated animal cruelty in the dog’s death Dec. 30, 2009, the Montrose Press reported.

He also was fined $500 and ordered to pay $343 in restitution to Buddy’s owners.

The dog, reported stolen from the back of a pickup truck in Delta, Colorado, was found with a rope tied around his neck at the monument. Surveillance photos and marks in the snow indicated Buddy had been dragged behind a pickup truck while still alive.

Romero’s sister, Melissa Lockhart, 32, is charged as an accessory after the fact to aggravated animal cruelty for allegedly attempting to cover up Buddy’s death. Conviction could bring up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A theft complaint filed against her for stealing the dog was dismissed June 10, court records show.

The torture and killing of Buddy triggered a Facebook site, Demand Justice For Buddy, which as of Friday had 267,713 members.

Romero pleads guilty in dog’s dragging death

Steven Romero pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal charge of aggravated animal cruelty in connection with the death of Buddy, a stolen German shepherd mix who was dragged to his death behind a pickup truck in the Colorado National Monument.

While the charge carries a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison and a $100,000 fine, it was expected that prosecutors would offer a reduced sentence in exchange for his guilty plea.

Buddy was found dead on Dec. 30. Romero is accused of putting a rope around the dog’s neck and driving until the dog was dead.

Romero, 38, will remain in custody until his sentencing, scheduled for July 30, according to 9News.

“It’s a good day for animal lovers and I’m happy to see this happen. It was the right thing for him to do to accept responsibility,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Meyer said.

Prosecutors say Romero’s sister, 32-year-old Melissa Lockhart, stole the pup from a pickup truck in Fruita and told him to “get rid” of it. Lockhart faces a felony charge for lying to investigators. She will appear in court on May 10 in Grand Junction.

A Facebook page was created in the wake of Buddy’s death. It is called “Demand Justice for Buddy” and has more than 260,000 members around the world.

Memorial erected for Buddy in Colorado

040110_Buddy_the_dog_2_680x480A stone marker in memory of Buddy, the dog dragged to death behind a pickup truck at Colorado National Monument, was erected Thursday at the entrance to the Roice-Hurst Humane Society.

In a quiet ceremony Thursday, the dog’s owners, the Leber family of Delta, again said goodbye to Buddy, whose death touched thousands, and later toured the humane society, according to The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction.

“It’s pretty cool to see people think about animals the way we do,” Sasha Leber said.

The stone, etched with paw prints heading toward a setting sun, was donated and placed in a bed of flowers by Snyder Memorials of Grand Junction. It reads, “In memory of Buddy, and all the animals who have no one to weep for them.”

Steven Romero, 38, is expected to change his plea to guilty to a charge of aggravated cruelty to animals in connection with Buddy’s Dec. 30 death. A hearing is scheduled April 29 in federal court in Denver.

The Lebers plan to attend the court hearing, and in the days before, a candlelight vigil at the humane society.

Buddy was cremated and his ashes are in an urn at their home, Sasha Leber said.

After more than three months since Buddy was stolen from the back of their pickup in Delta, the family still questions why Buddy, and their other dog, Max, a black Labrador retriever and pit bull mix, were taken. Neither knew Melissa Lockhart, 32, of Fruita, who is accused of taking the dogs.

Lockhart, who is Romero’s sister, has pleaded not guilty to stealing the dogs and is slated for trial Aug. 16.

(Photo: Christopher Tomlinson / The Daily Sentinel)

Romero pleads not guilty in dragging death

Steven Clay Romero — accused in dragging a dog named Buddy to his death at Colorado National Monument– pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges in federal court Wednesday.

His sister, 32-year-old Melissa Lockhart, failed to appear at her hearing, and a warrant for her arrest was issued.

Romero is accused of dragging the dog for three miles behind his pick-up truck last month. Lockhart, who allegedly stole the dog from a couple in Delta, reportedly told Romero to get rid of Buddy after he mauled a family cat. She is also charged with animal cruelty.

In court yesterday, Romero’s attorney asked for more time to review the case. He told the judge he has received more than 930 pages of discovery evidence including numerous CD’s and DVD’s, according to KJCT in Grand Junction.

Before the hearing, supporters of Buddy delivered to the U.S. District Attorney petitions with more than 100,000 signatures the suspects receive the maximum sentence if convicted.

(For our previous posts on Buddy, click here.)

Romero, sister, indicted in death of Buddy

romeroSteven Clay Romero and his sister were indicted late Monday in connection with the dragging death of Buddy, a stolen German shepherd mix who was pulled by a rope attached to a pick-up truck for miles at Colorado National Monument.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the National Park Service announced the indictments today against 37-year-old Romero, of Grand Junction, and his sister, 32-year-old Melissa Marie Lockhart of Fruita, according to the Denver Post.

Romero is already in federal custody and an arrest warrant was issued for Lockhart.

The federal indictment alleges Romero knowingly tortured and needlessly mutilated and killed the dog by dragging it behind a vehicle for three miles at the Colorado National Monument sometime between Dec. 29 and 30.

lockhartThe indictment says Lockhart knew about the crime between Dec. 30 and 31, but concealed it by making false statements to law enforcement, and failed to report it.

Romero faces one count of aggravated animal cruelty, punishable, if convicted, by up to three years in federal prison and up to a $100,000 fine. Lockhart is additionally charged with stealing Buddy and another dog, and faces up to three years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine, if convicted.

The case is in federal court because the crime is alleged to have occurred in a national park.

More than 100,000 signatures gathered via Facebook are to be presented to prosecutors tomorrow, demanding the maximum sentence for Romero and Lockhart, if convicted.

(For our previous posts on Buddy, click here.)

More than 100,000 demand justice for Buddy

The Denver Post reports that more than 100,000 signatures have been gathered on petitions urging the maximum sentence for the man who is charged with dragging a dog to death at Colorado National Monument.

Gary Sherman said the petitions, signed by animal lovers from the United States and 111 other countries, will be delivered to the courthouse in Grand Junction this week.

The signatures were gathered through a Facebook page called “Demand Justice for Buddy.”

Buddy, a German shepherd mix, was dragged by his neck behind a pick-up truck on Dec. 30. Steven Romero, 37, of Fruita, has been charged with the dog’s killing.

Sherman, of Colorado Springs, plans to deliver the petitions to prosecutors Wednesday before Romero’s scheduled 4 p.m. arraignment hearing in federal court on a charge of aggravated cruelty to animals. The petitions urge that, if convicted, he receive the maximum penalty of three years in a federal prison, a $100,000 fine and one year of probation.

His sister, Melissa Lockhart, is accused of stealing Buddy and another dog. She faces animal-cruelty, felony theft and false-reporting charges and is in jail.

Since the Facebook page was created days after Buddy’s death, 212,029 animal enthusiasts have become members of the site.

(For our previous posts on Buddy, click here.)

Buddy’s dragging followed attack on cat

An arrest affidavit says Steven Clay Romero, the man accused of dragging a dog to his death at Colorado National Monument, was told to “get rid” of the stolen animal after it had attacked a family cat.

The Grand Junction Sentinel is reporting that, prior to being dragged behind a pickup truck for two miles, the stolen dog, named Buddy, had attacked a family cat, leading Melissa Lockhart and Krista Morris to tell Romero to get rid of him.

“Steven left with the dog and returned without it. Steven told Melissa and Krista he had dragged the dog to death,” the affidavit states. It was filed in Delta County Court in support of the arrest of 32-year-old Melissa Lockhart — Romero’s sister — on charges of theft and false reporting,

According to the affidavit, Morris, whose connection to Romero isn’t specified, told Delta police that Lockhart on late Dec. 29 or early Dec. 30 had brought a pair of dogs to Morris’ Grand Junction home, asking that they be kept there for awhile.

Later, Morris met with officers and returned one of the two dogs, a black Labrador named Max. Both dogs were stolen from a pickup truck belonging to Joseph and Sacha Leber. A witness to the dog thefts called police to report the license plate of the suspect’s vehicle, which led back to Lockhart’s home in Fruita, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit said Lockhart insisted her children had told her the dogs were found in an abandoned house.

“Melissa and Krista requested Steven get rid of the dog, and he did so,” the affidavit said. “Steven returned and told Melissa and Krista about the event, and they attempted to lie and mislead law enforcement during the entire investigation,” police said in the affidavit.

Morris has not been arrested or charged in connection with the dog’s death.

(For all of our coverage of Buddy, click here.)