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Man released to grandmother in dog deaths

November 13, 2003|by TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

An 18-year-old Keedysville man who admitted killing puppies at his father's home in September has been released to his grandmother's custody until his sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 3.

Because he was charged as a juvenile at the time of the incident, his name is not being published.

Washington County Circuit Judge Donald Beachley, sitting in juvenile court, ruled Wednesday that the man be placed in community detention at his maternal grandmother's Hagerstown home until disposition of the case.

He had been placed at the Thomas B. Finan Center state psychiatric hospital in Cumberland, Md., following an Oct. 9 detention hearing. Doctors there recommended last month that he be released.

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At his Oct. 29 hearing, Beachley had declined to allow the man to return to his mother's custody and said the man's living situation had been "clearly dysfunctional."

The man was charged in September with the bludgeoning deaths of 10 puppies and with shooting two adult dogs, one of which died. The dogs belonged to the man's father.

He admitted in juvenile court Oct. 29 to killing three of the puppies and their mother.

An admission in juvenile court is the equivalent of a guilty plea in adult court.

Beachley asked whether the man had a job to go to, and Assistant Washington County Public Defender Margaret Teahan replied that her client wanted to be a farmer and had hoped to work on a family farm in Keedysville. Because of the nature of the charges, Beachley would not allow that option.

As to his detention at the grandmother's home, the only concern expressed by Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Viki Pauler was that there were "a number of animals" in the grandmother's neighborhood "that we want to make sure he stays away from."

Beachley told the grandmother she must report any violation to Juvenile Services. "He's got to stay right in your house. Do you understand that?" he asked.

"He's got to stay right with me, yes," she replied. She also assured Beachley that there were no weapons in the home.

After hearing that the man had been cooperative with authorities thus far, Beachley said "you could've sulked after your last hearing, but obviously you haven't. You can't undo what's already been done, but you can try to do better in the future."

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