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Woman charged with animal cruelty backs out of plea deal

July 09, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A woman charged with animal cruelty in November 2008, after authorities found a pit bull with open wounds and ribs showing in the attic of a Martinsburg home, backed out of a plea agreement Thursday in circuit court.

Breshannon Leslie Deveraux, 34, of Martinsburg, was expected to be placed on supervised probation for five years upon entering a guilty plea to one felony count of animal cruelty, according to a plea letter filed with Berkeley County Circuit Clerk Virginia M. Sine's office.

In addition to paying full restitution, Deveraux also would be prohibited from owning or having contact with animals upon her conviction on the felony charge and would be prevented from owning or residing with any animals for 15 years, according to the plea arrangement.

Deveraux has served 120 days in jail and remains on bond, according to her attorney, Nicholas M. Colvin.

Deveraux's decision not to enter the plea Thursday, prompted assistant prosecuting attorney Stephanie Saunders to ask 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gina M. Groh to allow the case to be presented to a grand jury for indictment.

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Colvin cited his client's "emotional state" as a reason why she was unable to follow through with the plea agreement and sentencing terms Thursday as scheduled.

Deveraux was scheduled to be sentenced in May, but that hearing was continued because Colvin told the court he had difficulty having a required psychological evaluation completed for his client before the hearing.

Since being rescued, the dog named Ice has recovered and was adopted, according to animal control officers

Six days after being arrested for animal cruelty, Deveraux was charged Nov. 18 with one misdemeanor count of solicitation of prostitution, according to court records.

In March 2009, Deveraux entered a guilty plea to the prostitution charge and was credited for serving 105 days in jail and no additional sentence was added to resolve the misdemeanor case. She was ordered to pay a $50 fine and court costs.

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