Tag: not guilty
Closing arguments were made today and the jury deliberated for less than an hour before pronouncing the brothers not guilty of a crime that led the city to reexamine and strengthen its animal welfare laws and procedures.
Phoenix — the name the dog was given after her rescue — was euthanized days after she was found, on fire, by a Baltimore police officer.
The first trial for the Johnson brothers ended in a hung jury in February 2011.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein issued the following statement after the verdict:
“While I respect the jury’s decision, I am disappointed we didn’t achieve the outcome that we fought for during two challenging trials. Animal cruelty is a serious crime of violence, and those who commit it too frequently commit subsequent crimes of violence against humans. As we demonstrated in this case, we are dedicated to vigorously prosecuting individuals accused of this appalling offense.”
Defense attorneys for the Johnsons focused their defense on whether police mishandled the investigation and some of the evidence.
Craig Beyler, a fire protection engineer, called to the stand as an expert, testified that police mishandled clothing seized from the Johnsons’ South Baltimore home by mixing two pairs of jeans and a pair of sneakers in one bag. The clothing contained traces of an ignitable substance that could not be identified, but Beyler said it could have been a common chemical used in sneakers that might have transferred from the shoes to the jeans.
Prosecutors’ arguments linking the brothers to the burning centered mainly on a police surveillance video recorded from atop a pole near the crime scene.
No DNA, fingerprints or other forensic evidence connected the suspects to the crime.
A police sergeant identified the brothers in the video, in which two young men can be seen walking the dog minutes before the burning, and running away from the scene afterwards. A bystander, Tiera Goodman, told police soon after the incident she too saw the brothers run from the scene.
But Goodman refused to testify in the retrial. A video of her testimony from the first trial was played instead.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, baltimore, brothers, burned, burning, cruelty to animals, died, dogs, doused, euthanized, Gregg Bernstein, johnson, killed, not guilty, pets, phoenix, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, retrial, set on fire, torture, travers johnson, tremayne johnson, trial, verdict
Prosecutors had said 68-year-old Ralph Ullum gave Protonix and a second human drug, possibly Benadryl, to Pixie, a prize-winning husky, during an American Kennel Club-sanctioned dog show in Wheaton, a suburb of Chicago, in December.
Ullum faced misdemeanor charges in DuPage County that included animal cruelty and attempted criminal damage to property.
DuPage County Judge Ronald Sutter found Ullum innocent of the charges Wednesday, saying prosecutors hadn’t proved their case against him, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Pixie wasn’t harmed by the drugs.
Jessica Plourde, Pixie’s owner, testified Monday she found pill fragments in and around Pixie’s cage during the show, and that an undigested pill was discovered after a veterinarian induced the white-and-brown female show dog to vomit.
Two witnesses testified they saw Ullum walk up to Pixie’s cage while Plourde was absent and slip something inside.
Defense attorney Ed Maloney contended the allegations against his client were unfounded, and a result of a long-running rivalry between dog trainers.
Neither Pixie nor the dog trained by Ullum’s girlfriend won the best in show award.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 10th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, benadryl, charges, cruelty, dog, dog show, dogs, drugged, drugs, dupage county, innocent, judge, not guilty, pets, pixie, robert ullum, show dogs, siberian husky, trial, wheaton
A not guilty plea was entered Friday on behalf of Kisha Curtis, the Newark woman accused of animal cruelty charges stemming from the discovery of a dog who’d been tossed down a trash chute and left to die in a garbage bin.
The 1-year-old pit bull, whose rescuers named him Patrick, continues to recover at an area animal hospital.
Public defender Regina Lynch entered the plea in Superior Court in Newark on behalf of Curtis, 27, the Newark Star-Ledger reported. She appeared at the hearing via a video hookup from the Essex County Jail.
Curtis faces two counts of tormenting and torturing a living creature by failing to provide sustenance and two counts of abandonment, said Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Cheryl Cucinello.
After the hearing, Kisha’s mother, Tammie Curtis, said her daughter didn’t discard the dog, but only left him tethered at the high-rise Garden Spires apartments in Newark — while she went on a trip to Albany. She implied that the dog was stolen.
“Anybody would take that dog,” the mother said. “If she tied the dog, she didn’t leave the dog to die.”
A security guard at the 520-unit complex told the Star-Ledger that the dog had been seen tied to a railing with a leather leash, and had been the subject of resident complaints for more than a month.
“It would whimper, and it would yelp when you would come up to it,” Ortman said.
A custodian found Patrick on March 16, inside a trash bag at the bottom of a 22-story garbage chute.
Judge Amilkar Velez-Lopez kept Curtis’ bail at $10,000 bond or $1,000 cash and forbid her to have contact with pets. If convicted, she faces 18 months in prison, a $3,000 fine and community service.
Patrick has been recovering at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, where he has gained two pounds since being found.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, bail, bin, bond, charges, chute, courts, entered, essex county, garbage, garden spires, hearing, justice, kisha curtis, neglect, newark, news, not guilty, patrick, pit bull, pitbull, plea, sentence, tormenting, torture, trash, video
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.)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 28th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, buddy, colorado national monument, death, dog, dragged, dragging, federal court, killed, melissa lockhart, not guilty, plea, steven clay romero
Twin brothers Tremayne and Travers Johnson entered pleas of not guilty Friday to animal cruelty charges in connection with the death of Phoenix, a pit bull puppy set on fire in Baltimore this summer.
The 17-year-olds, charged as adults, are being held without bail. Their trials are scheduled for February and March, the Baltimore Sun reports. Both are are also charged, in connection with a separate case, with gun and drug possession.
Phoenix was found burning by a police officer. She survived for several days before taking a turn for the worse and having to be put down.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, baltimore, burned, dog, fire, not guilty, phoenix, pit bull, pitbull, pleas, puppy, set on fire, travers johnson, tremayne johnson, twins
A contractor who spray-painted a dog who barked at him was found not guilty of animal cruelty by a DeKalb County State Court jury yesterday.
Dario Harris maintained he was afraid of the black lab mix, named Bear — and worried that, even though the dog was in a fenced backyard, it could have jumped the fence and attacked him, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Harris was marking utility lines with fluorescent orange paint outside Jeffrey Tompkins’ Stone Mountain home.
In an interview before the trial, Harris said he loves dogs and “was just trying to protect myself.”
“You have to look at what’s reasonable under the circumstances,” said Harris’ attorney, Gerald Griggs. “The jury got to hear his actual intentions that day. There were two dogs, both weighing over 60 pounds, jumping at a fence. You don’t know if they were nice dogs or mean dogs. He did not intend to injure Bear in any form or fashion. He was just scared.”
Harris wants to pay the veterinary bill, Griggs added.
Solicitor Robert James said he was disappointed in the verdict. “This is not going to change the way we do things in DeKalb County,” he said. “We take animal abuse very seriously, it’s wrong, and we’re going to continue to stand up for pet owners and animals, continue to hold people accountable.”
Abby Toll, the University of Colorado student accused of taping her boyfriend’s dog, Rex, to the refrigerator during an argument, entered a not guilty plea to animal cruelty and drug charges Friday.
Toll arrived at the Boulder County Justice Center to see animal-lovers, many with their pets, toting signs demanding justice for Rex.
Toll, 20, who is now is living in Chicago, had the drug charge filed against her after police said they found heroin on her when she was booked into Boulder County Jail on April 14, according to Coloradodaily.com.
Toll’s attorney, George Kokus, said he might file a change-of-venue request because “of the amount of hate mail we’ve received.” He said Toll’s case should be viewed as a “domestic violence” matter and said “she was the human victim.”
Her boyfriend, Brian Beck, 21, also faces misdemeanor animal-cruelty and false-imprisonment charges. Kokus said Beck wouldn’t let Toll leave their apartment and took away her cell phone.
“How would any woman react?” he said.
(Editorial comment: I can think of several alternatives that might be slightly more effective than taping a dog to the refrigerator.)
Beck is scheduled to accept a plea deal on his charges July 15. Toll is due back in court for a motions hearing Oct. 27.
Toll was arrested April 14 on suspicion of binding her boyfriend’s 2-year-old shiba inu, Rex, in packing tape and sticking him upside-down to the refrigerator during a fight. At the time of her arrest, Toll told police, “I know this looks bad. We were going to get rid of him anyway. We usually don’t do this.”
Rex is now in a new home in Castle Rock. Her new owners held a contest in May to rename the abused puppy. Online voters chose Yoshi — a Japanese word for “good luck.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abby toll, animal cruelty, argument, boulder, boyfriend, brian beck, court, demonstrators, dog, drugs, fridge, hearing, justice, not guilty, ohmidog!. news, packing tape, plea, refrigerator, rex, shiba inu, signs, student, taped, taping, university of colorado, upside down, venue, yoshi