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LETTER/Beheading His Dog May Get Man Life In Prison

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  • Rita Fazio
    Please crosspost. Thanks. ... From: Kinship Circle Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 5:39 PM Subject: LETTER/Beheading His Dog May Get Man Life In Prison Please
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2004
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      Please crosspost. Thanks.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Kinship Circle
      Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 5:39 PM
      Subject: LETTER/Beheading His Dog May Get Man Life In Prison



      Please respond before July 21, 2004.

      SAMPLE LETTER FROM KINSHIP CIRCLE / http://www.kinshipcircle.org
      6/29/04--Beheading His Dog May Get Man Life In Prison
      1 letter

      SOURCE OF INFORMATION:
      http://www.peta.org/Automation/AlertItem.asp?id=1055
      Man could spend life in prison for beheading killing his dog, Claire Luna,
      Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2004
      http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/0603animal-cruelty03-ON.html

      *DISCLAIMER: The information in these letters is verified with the original source. I cannot assume responsibility for the accuracy of the information or for the consequences of its use.

      *Kinship Circle cannot guarantee the validity of email addresses. During a campaign, recipients may change or disable their email addresses.

      ======SAMPLE LETTER======

      The Honorable Kazuharu Makino, Judge
      Orange County Superior Court
      700 Civic Center Dr. W., Dept. C-30
      Santa Ana, CA 92701
      fax: 714-834-6171; ph: 714-834-3734

      Dear Judge Makino,

      Thank you for rejecting the not guilty plea of James Abernathy, the La Habra, Calif. resident who claimed insanity when he beat his German shepherd Marie with a golf club, drove a stake six inches into her heart, and beheaded her with pruning shears in January 2002.

      This is clearly an act of violence initiated by anger, not insanity. After fighting with his girlfriend, Abernathy not only murdered and dismembered Marie, but also wrapped her severed head in a towel to stash in his garage. He later begged neighbors to not call the police, claiming he'd be "in real trouble" if they did.

      In fact, Abernathy faces "real trouble" for one count of felony cruelty to animals plus two past convictions for assault with a deadly weapon. The animal-cruelty charge adds up to three felony convictions--grounds for 25 years to life in prison under California law.

      Judge Makino, when you sentence Abernathy on July 23, 2004, I hope you will appraise his threat to the community. Abernathy is apparently prone to fits of destructive rage. According to family members, he's been in and out of jail most of his life and stockpiles guns, swords, knives and other weapons.

      His own father, George Abernathy, said: "If putting him in prison for 25 years to life is going to prevent him from hurting some innocent person, that's OK with me." Please incarcerate James Abernathy to the fullest extent of the law and order mandatory psychological evaluation along with a course in anger management. I also urge you to prohibit him from owning or harboring animals under any circumstances.

      Animal abuse is an overt clue to anti-social behavior and is listed as a key trait for conduct disorders in an American Psychiatric Association profile. In a 1997 inquiry conducted by the MSPCA and Northeastern University, 70% of animal abusers had accumulated one or more unrelated crimes and nearly 40% had committed brutal crimes against people.

      Marie was a defenseless companion animal. I thank you in advance for taking steps to protect society from the man who senselessly tortured and killed her.

      Sincerely,

      ============================================

      Man could spend life in prison for beheading killing his dog, Claire Luna,
      Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2004
      http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/0603animal-cruelty03-ON.html

      A man who beheaded his pet German shepherd was convicted Thursday of animal cruelty, a charge that could send the third-striker to prison for life. A sanity hearing will start Monday for James Andrew Abernathy, 42, of La Habra, Calif., who claims he was insane in January 2002 when he killed his pet dog, whom he had named Marie in honor of his girlfriend.

      Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown said anger, not insanity, drove him to beat his dog with a golf club, shove a stake through her heart and then decapitate her with pruning shears. He did those things, Brown said, "all because his girlfriend ... had broken up with him."

      Orange County Superior Court Judge Kazuharu Makino found Abernathy guilty after a two-hour, non-jury trial. Abernathy's lawyer, William G. Morrissey, did not call any witnesses or make any statements to the judge.

      After the trial, Morrissey said his client is a diagnosed schizophrenic who was not on medication when he killed his dog. The prosecutor contends Abernathy is faking his symptoms. If the judge determines Abernathy was insane, he would be sent to a psychiatric institution rather than prison.

      The bizarre case drew attention from animal rights activists who have flooded the court and the Orange County District Attorney's office with letters calling for strong sanctions for Abernathy.
      Although felony animal cruelty carries only a three-year maximum sentence, California law allows prosecutors to seek a life prison term for a defendant's third felony conviction. Abernathy was convicted twice in 1986 for assault with a deadly weapon.

      During Thursday's trial, one of Abernathy's neighbors testified that he came to her house about 8:30 a.m. Jan. 27, 2002. He told her he had fought with his girlfriend and killed his dog, Healy said. He seemed distraught, said Traci Healy, crying and shaking as he asked Healy and her mother not to call police. Healy's mother, Joan Marinaro, said Abernathy told them he would be "in real trouble" if police came. After Marinaro called police, she said, Abernathy told them he needed mental help.

      An animal control officer testified that after searching Abernathy's house, she found the headless body of a German shepherd in a bedroom closet, pruning shears resting on the dog's torso and a white stick driven six inches into the dog's chest. A golf club sat nearby, said Officer Janice Johnson. The officer found the dog's head, wrapped in a towel, inside Abernathy's garage.

      Family members told the Los Angeles Times after his 2002 arrest that he had been in and out of jail much of his life. He collected guns, swords, knives and other weapons, they said. After being discharged from the U.S. Army, Abernathy earned a certificate as a physical trainer but did not pursue a career in fitness, said his father, George Abernathy.

      His father will testify against him in the sanity phase of his trial, the prosecutor said Thursday.
      "Everybody's scared of him," George Abernathy said in an interview shortly after his son's arrest. "If putting him in prison for 25 years to life is going to prevent him from hurting some innocent person, that's OK with me."

      ###




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