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Man sentenced in dog deaths

December 04, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

An 18-year-old Keedysville man who admitted killing puppies at his father's home in September was sentenced Wednesday to continue living in community detention at his maternal grandmother's Hagerstown home and to have no contact with domesticated animals.

Washington County Circuit Judge Donald Beachley, sitting in juvenile court, ruled Wednesday that the man must live with his grandmother indefinitely.

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

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The dogs belonged to the man's father, who Beachley noted has not attended any of the court proceedings.

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

He admitted in juvenile court on 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 said the man must follow certain rules that include no hunting or other use of weapons, a 10 p.m. curfew and he is to have no contact with domesticated animals.

The judge also said he just submit to alcohol and drug testing, Individual counseling and possibly family counseling. He also must take anger management classes and try to get a full-time job.

Beachley ordered the man to perform 100 hours of community service.

Beachley ordered that there be "the highest level of supervision" for the man's home detention.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Viki Pauler told Beachley her office initially was going to suggest the man be sent to a juvenile detention center but has since agreed with the suggestion of the Department of Juvenile Services that he be allowed to continue living with his grandmother.

While the severity of the man's crimes can't be minimized, there are mitigating circumstances, including the fact he has no prior criminal record, he has been found to be susceptible to the suggestion of others and he has a low intelligence level with an IQ of about 70 to 80, Beachley said.

The man was placed at the Thomas B. Finan Center state psychiatric hospital in Cumberland, Md., following an Oct. 9 detention hearing. But at a mid-November hearing Beachley allowed him to be released to his grandmother's custody.

In court Wednesday, Beachley asked the boy's grandmother if there had been any problems with that arrangement.

"He has been no problem at all," his grandmother said.

The man made no comments to the judge other than to answer Beachley's questions. He and the family had no comment following the hearing.

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