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2 teens get 10 years in tortured puppy case

Alana RobertsAlana Roberts BrooklynMember Posts: 758
edited 3 July, 2007 in Laws & Legislation
Thought I'd pass this on... hurrah when the system works! =D>=D> 2 teens get 10 years in tortured puppy case Brothers receive little sympathy from judge By D.L. BENNETT The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 02/10/07 Two brothers who admitted torturing and killing a small puppy by baking it to death inside a gas oven will serve 10 years in prison. Justin and Joshua Moulder, who essentially threw themselves on the mercy of the court last month with guilty pleas to nine felony counts, found little sympathy from Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore at Friday's three-hour sentencing. Jody Horsley (left), the defendants' father, listens and sheds some tears while the verdicts are read. He said of the 10-year terms, 'It wasn't justice, that's for sure.' Defendant Justin Moulder, with attorney Timothy Owens, pleads for a 'second chance' for him and his brother. Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore accepted prosecutors' suggestion for 10 years in prison. She described the acts the boys pleaded guilty to — taking the puppy and smearing paint on it, trying to set it on fire, hog tying its feet with duct tape and binding its snout before stuffing it into a searing hot gas oven — as "malicious, unbridled cruelty." "The way we treat animals, the way we treat the least of these is a reflection of society," Moore said. "We will not tolerate this conduct as human beings." Moore sentenced the brothers, ages 19 and 17, to the maximum on several counts, merging the times in jail for a final sentence of 10 years in prison, plus 10 years of probation. The felony animal cruelty charge carried a maximum of 5 years in prison. However, the time in jail increased because of charges for burglary, criminal damage to property and child cruelty. The sentence matched the recommendation of prosecutors. Defense lawyers asked for six months in prison plus four and a half years on probation. The brothers could have been given as many as 90 years in jail. The sentence drew a mixed reaction from a courtroom primarily packed with animal lovers hoping for serious prison time. Some wiped tears. Several waited for prosecutors Laura Janssen and Ron Dixon to leave the courtroom so they could applaud and hug them. "I wish it was more time ... I'd hate to see them out in another 10 years" said Roswell resident Ginnie Blount. Her 9-year-old daughter Abigail, touched by the dog's suffering, gathered more than 200 signatures from folks who supported stern punishment. Dr. Melinda Merck, an animal cruelty expert who testified during the trial in December which ended in a hung jury, was ecstatic. "We did good," she said. "I feel like all the work we did was validated. The judge and the jury got it." Meanwhile, family members and defense lawyers left the courtroom stunned. Jody Horsley, the father of both young men, wiped tears after the verdict. So did defense lawyer Timothy Owens, who never expected such a sentence when he agreed to let his client plead guilty. "That was an armed robbery, a rape sentence," Owens said. "Maybe if they had shot or stabbed someone, they would have gotten a better sentence." Horsley seemed at a loss to understand the scope of how long both will be jailed. "It wasn't justice, that's for sure," Horsley said. Prosecutors spent two hours Friday showing the lengthy juvenile records of the Moulders, saying that the puppy's grisly death was an escalation of a dangerous pattern established long ago. Joshua Moulder, the younger brother, had been in an out of psychiatric care and state youth detention centers for years, records showed. He had been accused of breaking into homes, arson, threatening to beat and kill his own mother and trashing a foster home. Justin Moulder, while in foster care, had been charged with aggravated sexual battery of a 3-year-old boy, prosecutors said. He was charged as an adult but prosecuted as a minor. He also was convicted of shoplifting as an adult. Joshua Moulder said nothing at Friday's sentencing. Justin Moulder read a brief statement, apologizing for their actions. "We are here to ask for forgiveness and a second chance at life," the elder brother said. "If I am given another chance, I will make up for it." All the charges stemmed from an incident last Aug. 21 inside the community center at Englewood Manor apartments in northwest Atlanta. At trial in December, prosecutors said the brothers broke into the newly remodeled center and trashed it. During the rampage, prosecutors said, they bound a stray puppy found by a sister and tossed it into the burning oven. Eleven jurors were ready to convict the Moulders. But one refused, leaving the jury hung. The pleas came Jan. 26 as defense lawyers and prosecutors prepped for a final pre-trial motion before the retrial, which was set to begin Jan. 29. The blind guilty pleas entered to nine felony counts allowed the judge to decide how many years each youth will serve. The district attorney's office has received more than 5,000 letters and e-mails from people upset about the crime. More than 25,000 signed an Internet petition in support of prosecution of the case as a felony.


  • emma clarkeemma clarke Nottingham Robin Hood CountryMember Posts: 6,819
    edited 2 March, 2007
    I'm so glad to hear that! Only too often, animal abusers get off lightly with their sentences. It's no coincidence that one of the offenders was also convicted of child cruelty, the sort of people who abuse animals have no social conscience and are just as likely to harm any other living being that's weaker than themselves. Respect to the judge!
  • Sarah MinerSarah Miner MaplewoodMember Posts: 3,790
    edited 2 March, 2007
    Some people are SICK, SICK, SICK and I am glad they will be in jail. Im sorry but animals feel the same pain people do and im glad they got punished. Poor little puppy is at least in heaven now. =D> For this judge
  • Angela ClarkAngela Clark Fort SmithMember Posts: 15,094
    edited 2 March, 2007
    In a case like this, there are no winners. This is the closest I've seen to justice for animals in a long time. I can only hope other judges will follow suit with sentences like this or worse.
  • Chenling ZhangChenling Zhang LeuvenMember Posts: 813
    edited 3 March, 2007
    This is just sick. Way too often people treat animals like second or third class citizens while I think if you can't be nice to an animals, then you can't neither to another human being. Kudos for the system =;
  • Pamela HaneyPamela Haney Old ForgeMember Posts: 893
    edited 3 March, 2007
    I just need to make a point here - *stands on soap box* - A comment was made by the defense lawyer that perhaps if the kids has shot or stabbed someone then they would have had a better sentence, which depicts the perception that "If you don't get this kind of punishment for stabbing someone then why should you get it for killing a puppy?". All I can say is this - if that's the mentality that they have, then obviously there isn't enough jail time given for stabbing someone. Those brats deserved the 10 years. At 17 and 19 years old they should know better. And the father "shedding tears" in court and saying that this sentence "was not justice" only makes me madder!!! Maybe if he had some better parenting skills, his kids wouldn't be out there toasting innocent little puppies, sexually assaulting children, trashing property, and breaking into houses. Obviously these kids have been trouble for at least several years, so why didn't the father do something about it when they were younger??? I am only 25, and I don't have children yet, so I am not trying to be judgemental, but if I ever got caught breaking into buildings or vandalizing property or any of that other nonsense when I was a teenager - I wouldn't have a single privledge, be allowed to go anywhere or do anything for a good long time. My butt would probably be really sore for a good long time too because my parents were from the old school of a good A - - whipping when you deserved it. I was fortunate enough not to have to go through that more than once or twice in my early teen years, but it was enough to make me think before I did anything wrong. ok. I'm done. *steps down off soap box*.
  • Angela ClarkAngela Clark Fort SmithMember Posts: 15,094
    edited 3 March, 2007
    =D>=D>=D> Well said Winter. We couldn't agree more.
  • Diana MertensDiana Mertens Warner RobinsMember Posts: 5,435 ✭✭
    edited 4 March, 2007
    Only 10 years????:-O I agree with one of the ladies interviewed - it should be more than that. Oh, well. It's a step in the right direction, at least.
  • Heidi HessenHeidi Hessen Acworth/KennesawMember Posts: 975
    edited 5 March, 2007
    We all agree with Winter. That was very well said. Mom got so hot when she read that - i can't even repeat what she thinks should be done - and the words she use --- mom is pi**ed off big time. Lucy (our canine sister) is a gentle soul and she said she would bite them, bite them hard, and bite them in a place that would make sure they could not have any little ones of their own to pass this sickness on to. Then she would do the same to them as they did to the little one. Mom is really sorry that this happened. She thinks that the parents of these monsters should be punished too - or at least sent to a shrink. We are all praying for the little one, Skitzee and Sparky are at the bridge to welcome the baby into sunshine and peace.
  • TRACY YOUNGTRACY YOUNG New YorkMember Posts: 6,538
    edited 6 March, 2007
    String \'em up, I say. But that\'s me being emotional. My Mom would literally kill anyone who harmed any of us, or any animal, probably. The sad truth is that people who do stuff like this are mentally ill. I\'m not saying they shouldn\'t go to jail; unfortunately there\'s no alternative. But incarceration in our prison system doesn\'t rehabilitate, it makes makes sick people sicker and bad people worse. What\'s taught in prison isn\'t sensitivity and compassion; it\'s how to survive on the most brutal level. There has to be a better way.
  • Alejandra GarzaAlejandra Garza Mexico CityMember Posts: 245
    edited 8 March, 2007
    I couldn't agree more with Winter. And my mom and I are in tears, how sick can you be to do something like that? I mean, these teens deserve more than 10 years in jail and the rest of their pathetic little lives on a mental hospital! I know I shouldn't say this but I wish they receive the same treatment in jail, or at least something similar. I guess I'm not a very nice kitty and mom always tells me that you need to forgive and think positive in order to be a better cat (and human), but this case is just horrendous. But karma is karma, and lets be honest, jail is a pretty rough place and they'll get what deserve! At least you guys living in the U.S. have some justice, in Mexico where my family is from and where I live... forget it, nothing like this would happen. The law is so completely stupid, just like the politicians, that they would never take a case like that into court, that's why there's so much cruelty in this country. At least mom does something when she sees someone being cruel to an animal, she just goes out and yells at the person and sometimes she's even threatened to take the animal pretending she's from the humane society or an organization like that, hehehe. Take care and think that fortunately the poor puppy is in doggy heaven now. Licks, Buda
  • Candy McCarthyCandy McCarthy SanfranciscoMember Posts: 292
    edited 17 March, 2007
    I hat to admit it but the first thing that came into my mind was to put them in the oven, both of them. Yes I say they need to be put in the burning oven., Prison is to good for them.
  • Tony BlackwellTony Blackwell Cardiff, WalesMember Posts: 1,019
    edited 17 March, 2007
    This is certainly justice. I agree with everything that Winter said and I'll add that I think the judge did society a favour by locking these two up. Sad to say, but I think if they had just been convicted for the cruelty to the puppy, they wouldn't have got nearly so long. It was their past history that got them 10 years. They were quite clearly out of control and needed to be stopped. When are people going to learn that animals feel pain and fear just as much as humans do? We need an animal rights bill that gives animals the basic right not to be tortured. Everyone here knows that animals have emotions and that animals are capable of giving affection, being protective to those they care about and showing joy and happiness. Saying "it's just an animal" is not good enough. You might as well say "it's just a child". Leida.
  • debbie shortcakedebbie shortcake Member Posts: 136
    edited 22 March, 2007
    i remember hearing this story a while back, and now i am glad to know they have been sent to prison. however, i think they should\'ve gotten a much harsher sentence. those boys cruelly took away a life, and in return should\'ve had theirs taken as well. hopefully they\'ll learn that what they did is WRONG! society must learn that a dog, cat, not \"just an animal\". they are living, breathing creatures just like humans. humans also forget that they are animals too. just because they are at the top of the food chain doesn\'t make them any more important.
  • Tanya GarreauTanya Garreau Lake GenevaMember Posts: 240
    edited 1 April, 2007
    That is so horrible... Im so glad to hear they got 10 years...
  • Candy AndersonCandy Anderson Member Posts: 503
    edited 3 April, 2007
    That is so sad! Though I do agree it should have been more years, it is still a break though with 10 years, some other bad cases of these sorts of things have only gotten things like 6 months home arrest or a years community service. So 10 years on a case like this is a great and big break though!
  • martha ciatteimartha ciattei Member Posts: 3,158
    edited 4 April, 2007
    Just more proof that when boys torture animals, it isn't just "boys being boys": it is an act that signals much further reaching problems that spill out to the entire community. Every serial killer and every one of the school shooters had animal torture in their background. The ability to inflict suffering on ANY sentient creature denotes a very sick and anti-social personality that will not stop there. Society needs to wake up to this fact, whether they are animal lovers or not.
  • Josey SuazoJosey Suazo Grand JunctionMember Posts: 274
    edited 4 April, 2007
    Obviously if the father was saying it wasnt justice - you can see where the lack of compassion in the two boys came from. He's right, it isnt justice, he should be punished for raising two psychotic terrors for 19 years without getting them help. How many warning signs can you possibly need? He should be on his hands and knees thanking the courts that someone is going to take care of his boys and teach them right from wrong - something that he never did. I read this awhile back in the dogster forums, and I admittingly had a hard time swallowing it. I kept seeing that poor puppy in my head. I'm very pleased to have learned the outcome of the case, cause I made myself forget about it. On a bright note, alot of you said how most animal cruelty cases go unpunished, or atleast not severe punishment, atleast this is a step in the right direction, regardless of these two boys pasts, the sentencing will be able to be used as an example in (unfortunately ) future cases.
  • Candy McCarthyCandy McCarthy SanfranciscoMember Posts: 292
    edited 1 June, 2007
    =D>=D>=D>=D>=D>=D>|$| Good! But they should have gotten life!:?
  • Cassandra GriffinCassandra Griffin OmahaMember Posts: 4,662
    edited 30 June, 2007
    finally!that judge is the best! =D>
  • Pet SerranoPet Serrano Member Posts: 156 ✭✭
    edited 30 June, 2007
    =D>=D>=D>=D>=D>=D>=D>=D>=D> (speechless with joy)
  • Deb SmithDeb Smith RowleyMember Posts: 13,828 ✭✭
    edited 1 July, 2007
    Mom and I are glad they were punished for their actions but must agree it should have been a longer time!! Why do some people think they can treat us kitties and puppies so inhumanely? Purrs and Hugs, Zoey
  • Jan AllenJan Allen DallasMember Posts: 2,596
    edited 1 July, 2007
    Ditto Winter. I feel that if a person who does that to animals they will do it to humans. It has been proven. I don't have any sympathy. sorry.
  • edited 2 July, 2007
    i heard about those 2 teens did you guys hear about the case where this guy threw his puppy and beat the crud out of it till it died and then he slammed it into the tv and then it died all the pupy did was snap a tv cord bye accident
  • Nicole FoxNicole Fox PawsvilleMember Posts: 3,777
    edited 3 July, 2007
    No I didn't Monster but who ever takes their own problems out on an animal is just cruel as!!!!*Angry face*
  • Elizabeth WrightElizabeth Wright Member Posts: 129
    edited 3 July, 2007
    They deserved it. Fully deserved it. And the dad made me want to retch. If I did something like this (I wouldn't, of course, but still) my parents would give me a life sentence in jail themselves, not rant about how their perfect darling is innocent. We need more judges like this one!
  • osaka chanosaka chan Member Posts: 25
    edited 3 July, 2007
    that just sux. how humans should get it. whatever they do to animals should be done to them worse. that should be there fate
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