"No Justice for Justice": Animal Rights Activists Are Irate Over Outcome of Puppy-Burning Trial

Categories: Animal Welfare

Thumbnail image for Justice.jpg
DFW Rescue Me
A badly burned Justice, circa April 2012
Yesterday, 16 months after Justice died from burns suffered at a Pleasant Grove apartment complex, the last of the four men accused of dousing the dog in lighter fluid and setting it on fire pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges.

Richard Valentine, 25, and 19-year-old Darius Ewing, the alleged ringleader, entered their pleas on Tuesday morning just as jury selection in their trial was set to begin. Ewing agreed to serve five years in prison. Valentine was sentenced to 15 months, as was 25-year-old Darius Carey, who pleaded guilty on Friday. Adrian Ayers, who admitted his guilt in June, will be locked up for two years.

But then Dallas County District Judge Larry Mitchell did something that no one expected: He ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Ewing had used a deadly weapon -- the lighter fluid in this case -- and lowered his sentence to two years. The decision dismayed animal rights activists, who have been watching the trial intently with an eye toward avenging Justice's death.

"I'm shocked," Jonnie England of the Texas Humane Alliance told WFAA. "All of us who were in the courtroom today are shocked. There was just no justice for Justice here today,"

DFW Rescue Me President Jim Wenger, who led the effort to save Justice and later tattooed the dog's picture on his arm, told The Dallas Morning News he was "speechless."

JusticeConvicted.jpg
Clockwise from top left: Darius Ewing, 19; Richard Valentine, 25; Adrian Ayers, 21; Darius Carey, 25
Prosecutor David Alex, meanwhile, had something to say: "As it stands right now, I've got to look at my other appellate options and see what I can do, but all I can say is I'm shocked," he told the paper. "I've never seen this before."

That reaction was tame in comparison to the furor on social media. "Judge Larry Mitchell is an idiot!" reads one of the 75 comments on DFW Rescue Me's Facebook page, where there began an informal campaign to unseat the judge. "Wait until these men go on to torture and kill humans."

The outrage poured onto Mitchell's own Facebook page, where you'll find comments like "The injustice you have done to an innocent puppy is absolutely appalling and disgusting! You are a POS and I hope you dream and are haunted by that sweet innocent dog for the rest of your life! Shame on you."

The evidence suggests that such comments will be unlikely to sway Mitchell. He's made his decision. And he last posted on his Facebook page on October 2010.

See also:
Justice, the Puppy Burned in Pleasant Grove Last Week, Died Last Night
Adrian Ayers, Accused of Torching Justice the Puppy, Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty


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69 comments
rufuslevin
rufuslevin

what is with naming young black men 'darius' anyway? isn't that a gaywad kinda name, like lemonjello and orangello.  where do blacks GET these names they come up with...is it because they cannot spell American names?  momma called Formykka Dynette.

Americano
Americano

Where is Al Sharpton on this issue?  We can't do anything until he weighs in.

texanbynature
texanbynature

Helllloooooooooooo????   "LIGHTER    FLUID" -- fluid intended to be lit on fire to accelerate something burning, is not deadly to mammals in sufficient quantity and next to a lighter? 


Judge Larry Mitchell is beyond disappointing, but apparently not beyond some other things I won't mention. 


His name will be remembered at election time for his "contributions", not just for the contribution he probably got.   

I'm stunned a judge would cave in to this kind of pressure.  

Tyler Atnip
Tyler Atnip

Right before the kids killed the Aussie baseball player, they practiced killing an animal... when people abuse animals, they do so because they have further pent up desires to hurt people, damage property and generally wreak havoc (serial killing 101)

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

Fine, Ill take the argument that lighter fluid is not a "deadly" weapon, but then at the very least its aggravated arson. Its the DA's dropping the ball and going after the bigger "kill" and its why these animals walk amongst us.

The good news is, we will see these people back in the news because they got arrested after being released.

And we need to do something with harsher sentences for animal cruelty.

John1073
John1073

This judge is up reelection in 2014. Someone should step up and take him down in the Democratic primary.

cmint
cmint

Emotion and the application of law, especially criminal law where jail time is in the picture, should be as seperated as possible.  Everyone hates to be in the postition of defending a POS, but we have actual courts of law and defense attys for this very purspose.  Because, POS or not, you get the expectation of due process.

Hypothetical:  what did this judge give a similar suspect for beating a human half to death the previous day?  probation? two years? Maybe Judge Larry could not justify in his mind giving this POS 5 years for animal cruelty when he just let a wife beater off with probabtion the day before. My guess is that the sentencing would look rediculous when postitioned against other sentences for more serious crimes against humans.

I am a dog lover and would want to kill any human who hurt, tortured or even looked cross wise at my dog. I have shelled out big $ for doggie surgeries that even at the time were destined to fail.  But, that does not mean a court of law would see it the same way I do if I blew a humans head off for doing anything to my beloved dog.  I mean really, if lobsteres had faces we would be executing the swiss chef.

Aww eff it.  I should have just stayed out of this one.  I hope my wife does not see this post. I'll be in the house of the dog myself.

Nathan McLain
Nathan McLain

Maybe I'm crazy, but isn't fire the deadly weapon in this scenario and not what he used to start the fire?!?!?!?

Dallas_dude
Dallas_dude

The fact that these people have issues and need to be punished not withstanding, I really wish people care as much for their fellow man as they do an animal. 

An animal is an animal is an animal.  People come before animals.  The sick disgusting things people do to each other and it barely gets a notice in the media.  Someone tortures a dog and the internet explodes.  Animal cruelty should be punished, but the hatred and passion people display for animals and complete indifference towards people baffles my mind.

Beth Reuter Tuttle
Beth Reuter Tuttle

Very disappointing. An absolutely senseless crime against a truly defenseless victim. Their violence against an innocent puppy speak volumes on their hearts. Hopefully 2 years is long enough to change them, but I doubt it...

mia02
mia02

Since 'Judge' Mitchell is an elected Judge the best thing we can all do is remember this issue when reelection time comes around and send this guy packing back to the private sector where he probably wasn't making it anyway.

The man is clearly void of any common sense or intelligence.  Makes me wonder if the public defender had something on him??

David Fussell
David Fussell

For their sake, I sure hope Larry Mitchell doesn't have any pets.

Marvin Bellows
Marvin Bellows

So I take it if someone were to light this asshole up, it wouldn't be assault with a deadly weapon?

dc005
dc005

@texanbynature Judge Mitchell made much that he didn't ask for or accept contributions in his first race,   he had no opposition last time,  didn't need any.  He  prides himself on having been an appellate lawyer for criminal cases,  believes he knows the law better than most others.   Sometimes that belief will jump up and bite you on the ass.

texanbynature
texanbynature

I have to wonder if he has a dog, and what his vet will say to him next time he takes his pet(s) in.

jdpen
jdpen

Hey man pansie.......really? You're ok with this?

Dallas_dude
Dallas_dude

Reason is not allowed when it comes to dogs.  Don't you know that?  These kids should all be burned to the death.  Who cares that people doing far worse to fellow humans get less punishment.  We're talking about cute cuddly dogs here.

jdpen
jdpen

These people are far less significant to our society than the dogs they kill and abuse. Dogs are innocent, loving, loyal, affectionate companions. They rescue, protect, lead the blind and disabled. They serve with our armed forces and law enforcement. And they do all of this and ask for nothing more than a little love back. They are quite frankly a gift from God, the best deal to mankind........can you say this about Darius Ewing and others like him? The are beneath the animal kingdom by a long shot

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Dallas_dude

Right in your own reply is a clue as to why a lot of people are more concerned about prosecuting folks that abuse animals than they are about prosecuting folks that harm other people.

(and I quote) "The sick disgusting things people do to each other and it barely gets a notice in the media."

People can be - and often are - pretty horrible to other people and that is a large factor in why some people are more offended when an implicitly innocent creature has been harmed as opposed to a human being harmed. I'm not saying that it is right, but I can understand it to a certain degree.

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

@Dallas_dude They will eventually move on to people.  Like the cretins that shot the college kid in Oklahoma the other day.  They do this stuff for fun.

 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Dallas_dude so you are the one who leaves his dog in the car in the heat while he drinks at a bar.  I mean fuck it, its just an animal right

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Dallas_dude pretty sure if these kids and abused, mutilated and set a human on fire, we be advocating the death penalty here sir

dallas_dude
dallas_dude

@TheCredibleHulk @Dallas_dude Because people who steal candy, naturally steal wallets, and naturally progress to stealing cars, and naturally robbing banks.

So lets just punish people who steal candy like the people that rob banks right?

I mean marijuana leads to heroine right?  Porn leads to be a pedophile right?

Dallas_dude
Dallas_dude

Hmmmm...not sure where advocating the mistreatment of animals is anywhere in my comment. 

jdpen
jdpen

These people are far less significant to our society than the dogs they kill and abuse. Dogs are innocent, loving, loyal, affectionate companions. They rescue, protect, lead the blind and disabled. They serve with our armed forces and law enforcement. And they do all of this and ask for nothing more than a little love back. They are quite frankly a gift from God, the best deal to mankind........can you say this about Darius Ewing and others like him? The are beneath the animal kingdom by a long shot

dc005
dc005

@ScottsMerkin what's interesting:  the Judge didn't follow the plea bargain.  The litany that has to be recited before taking a felony plea requires the judge to tell the person pleading guilty that the judge can accept or reject the recommendation.  I can't recall a Judge ever rejecting it,  and lowering an agreed prison term.   One of the Dallas Judges told me that,  on an "open plea",  when there's no agreement,  he usually splits the difference between that the state wants and the defense thinks is enough.  When you're accepting dozens of guilty pleas every day,  you have to rely on the work of the trial lawyers.  


Judge Mitchell has always stepped to the beat of his own drummer,   this time it may jump up and send him back to private law practice. 

Dallas_dude
Dallas_dude

But you can say that for anything.  I work my ass off for my stuff.  If I got robbed I would want to kill the MF-er.  There is a fundamental constitutional concept of punishment fitting the crime.  When michale vick got convicted (which what he did was fucked up) people literally were asking that he get the death penalty.  He did time that drunk drivers, wife beaters, sexual assualters often times don't do.  That shit is crazy.  It's not advocating non-punishment.  But 2 years in prison AIN'T NO JOKE.  These kids aren't exactly going to be enrolling in Devry when they get out.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Dallas_dude I dont know man, if someone intentionally killed my dog, Im pretty sure I want them dead.  Not saying thats the punishment he deserves, but I understand the emotion of wanting that harsh of a punishment., and I think that is where the outrage by so many in pthe public comes from.  Maybe that will put us on more level gorund?

Dallas_dude
Dallas_dude

I never said not care for your pet.  I'm saying your pet is on one level, humans (ANY HUMAN) is on a totally elevated level. People ask for the most rediculous punishments for people that hurt animals.  I guarentee you I could get 100 people to protest this judge tomorrow. 

Try getting 10 people to protest that kid who got killed on lower greenville.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Dallas_dude you are an idiot, go pat your self on the head.  Did I ever say that they deserved more than they got?  no.  I just said that your opinions of animals is far from most americans in that they actually love and care for their pets like family.  Its ok that you dont, but why have a pet you dont give 2 shits about?

Dallas_dude
Dallas_dude

There you go.  Now you're getting it. (pat on the head)

You hurt people you get hurting people type punishment.

You hurt animals, you get hurting animals type punishment.  Because animals are animals and not people.

jdpen
jdpen

Actually that is correct .............as we see over and over again

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@dallas_dude @TheCredibleHulk @Dallas_dude 

Decaf, dude

If you can calm down for a moment, you'll realize that I wasn't the one that was making the slippery slope argument. I was just trying to offer you a rationale as to why some people are more offended by the act of animal cruelty than they seem to be about humans treating each other poorly.

Hell, wasn't it you above that said you would like to kill someone merely for the misguided act of taking your shit? And you wonder why folks like dogs better than they like humans.

*sheesh* 

jdpen
jdpen

Hey RTgolden and Dallas dude, do you really think that people who so deeply care about dogs and other animals are any less compassionate about people? Generally speaking these are the exact same people that get involved, volunteer, donate, adopt, etc. but they also pick their battles and actually contribute to helping others, everyone, people and pets...........rather than sit around all day responding to blogs and sound just as cruel and heartless as the POS abusers of the world

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@RTGolden1, ahh yes, that is a perfect explanation.  And my mind is in vacation already, headed to KC for the weekend tomorrow, I can already taste the bbq

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @RTGolden1 I will chalk this up to your total confusion at being in agreement with Myrna for TWO STRAIGHT DAYS????

That would be enough screw up anyone's sensibilities.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@RTGolden1 ok, seriously, I did make inferences and references to things he didnt say, but Ive always wondered what it was like to be one of those people who jumps to a totally illogical conclusion based on an innocuous comment.  God it must suck to be Myrna

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @Dallas_dude Scott, you're wrong this time, and pursuing it like this makes you look like an idiot.  he never said one thing about abusing animals, nor did he imply it.  He merely stated he wished people cared as much about other people as they do their animals. 

Taking your implied meaning, one might respond to this comment by begging that you be kept away from other humans.  After all, humans are no better than animals, right?  And we eat animals.

Dallas_dude
Dallas_dude

Not quite, keep trying buddy, eventually you'll get it.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Dallas_dude well if an animal is an animal is an animal, thats pretty much what you are sayin yo.  Fuck it, its just animal, so just go kick the mother fucker down the street.  

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