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Prince George's Co. man pleads guilty to cruelty to animals

Nathaniel Herring, 19, of Capitol Heights, Md., was sentenced to probation before judgment

January 27, 2011

A Prince George's County man charged with plinking City Park ducks with a paintball gun last summer pleaded guilty this week to cruelty to animals, according to Washington County District Court records.

Nathaniel Herring, 19, of Capitol Heights, Md., was sentenced to probation before judgment Tuesday and ordered to pay $57.50 in court costs and fees.

 Charges of inflicting unnecessary suffering or pain on an animal and trespassing were dismissed, according to court records.

Defendants who receive probation before judgment can have their criminal records expunged if they successfully complete probation. Herring's probation ended Wednesday, court records said.

Hagerstown police were called to the park at 2:45 a.m. on July 30, 2010, to investigate a report of people seen tampering with vehicles, according to charging documents. Officers driving past the park heard several "loud pops" and went to investigate, the documents said.

Inside the park, they found three men and three paintball guns in a backpack, as well as two juvenile females and paintball ammunition in a parked truck, the documents said.

Several ducks in the park had red paint on them, the documents said.

Herring at first gave police an alias of Jerome Larry Davis of Hagerstown and failed to appear in court for an Oct. 6 hearing. He appeared in district court for a bond hearing on Nov. 3 after being arrested for failure to appear at the previous hearing.

He was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Thursday, but entered the plea on Tuesday.

The maximum penalty for the cruelty to animals charge was 90 days in jail, under state law.

Herring was given credit for 84 days spent in the Washington County Detention Center, court records said.

— Don Aines

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