Skip to comments.Judge rejects guilty plea in horse-killing
Posted on 06/11/2009 11:14:48 PM PDT by Chet 99
9:52 AM CDT, June 11, 2009
LaPORTE, Ind. - A judge has rejected a man's guilty plea in the killing of a Belgian draft horse, saying the case should go to trial because the man deserves time behind bars.
(Excerpt) Read more at chicagotribune.com ...
That’s rare... good for the judge.
Time to recuse yourself there, Judge. I know it's annoying, but you're supposed to pass sentence after the verdict. As it is, you just guaranteed a mistrial, or at least a successful appeal.
Joe Skomac and Joe Waldo
LaPORTE It's a tragic case of animal cruelty in LaPorte County that has grabbed national attention.
The Satoski family's 5-year-old Belgian draft horse known as "Big Ben was shot right between the eyes one night last month and killed. Friday police announced, after working more than 100 hours to find justice for the family, they finally know who did it.
It was a morning Sue Satoski says she'll never be able to put out of her mind. She wishes she could.
"I couldn't believe it, she told WSBT in November. I said, Somebody shot him! Look at his head! It was a well-placed bullet."
A bullet right between the eyes of the Satoski family's pride and joy their 5-year-old horse named Ben. It happened the night of November 16 as he played in his outdoor arena in rural LaPorte.
Police were just as disturbed as the Satoskis themselves.
This horse had a name. It had an identity. It was a friend to many people, Det. John Boyd of the LaPorte Co. Sheriff's Dept. said after the shooting. We're going to do everything we can to bring these people to justice and hold them accountable for what they did.
In the weeks that followed, the Satoski family, a lot of people in LaPorte, and even the Humane Society of the United States all donated to a reward fund for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Finally, Friday afternoon three weeks later a break.
Police say it was a late-night telephone tip and forensic evidence that led them to 24-year-old Joseph Waldo and 25-year-old J.R. Skomac of Westville now arrested and charged with criminal mischief. They face up to three years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
So why did they do it?
They were allegedly, from what they confessed to, they were deer hunting and they did not get a deer, explained Sgt. Pat Cicero of the LaPorte County Sheriffs Department. They saw a horse and decided to shoot the horse.
Its part of the family, said Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer. I don't care if its a cat or a dog or a horse or whatever, its losing a member of the family. And for somebody to do something like that to an animal it's scary.
They had to look up to that horse; if you could just look at this big innocent animal [and do that], you have no regard for any life, human or otherwise. None, Sue Satoski said. Police say the men could not be charged with animal cruelty because the horse wasn't "mutilated or tortured." But detectives and the Satoskis say they plan to ask state lawmakers to change the wording of the law in the future. Both men have bonded out of jail. And we just learned a warrant has been issued for J.R. Skomac because he can't be found. Anyone who knows where he may be is asked to call police.
Judges have the discretion to reject plea bargains, but rarely do so.
They ought to treat this pair like hoss thieves of old, and string ‘em up. Let the punishment fit the crime!
I know, but he should have shut his yap about his personal bias against presiding over an acquittal.
> I know, but he should have shut his yap about his personal bias against presiding over an acquittal.
Interesting. Given that they have already tried to plead guilty, haven’t they themselves prejudiced their own trial? Isn’t the judge merely reiterating their statement of fact?
Not exactly. It's kind of like when the jury hears something, and then they're told to "disregard" it. Obviously they can't actually disregard it, but the form requires the instruction from the judge, and the jury can't later say they went and regarded it anyway, or it would be a mistrial - even though everyone knows they regarded it. Same difference here. The judge knows they're guilty, they even tried to plead guilty, as you pointed out. But if the judge goes and says he wants to put them away before they are actually convicted, he's demonstrating bias. And in a sense, a mistrial is actually justified - the judge is not only biased, but he's so biased he can't keep quiet about it, which is definite evidence of lack of control, if not intent.
Fair enough — cheers for that straightforward explanation.
“Interesting. Given that they have already tried to plead guilty, havent they themselves prejudiced their own trial? Isnt the judge merely reiterating their statement of fact?”
Their plea deal isn’t admissible at the trial. His comments are admissible at the appeal.
> It’s a sad day when people equate human and animal life.
It is an even bigger sad day when people like you equate human life with scumbag life. Humans lose the right to be equated with other humans when they begin behaving like scumbags.
Most animal lives are vastly preferable to the lives of those two scumbags.
> Was this wrong? You bet. But it was destruction of property, and nothing else.
“and nothing else.” Sir, you are an apologist for criminal behavior. And it is attitudes like yours that have seen the gradual erosion of our Society’s core values.
What exactly is “conservative” about your attitude? I think your rationale sucks.
> The horse wasn’t “a family member” or “part of the neighborhood” or any other nonsense.
In your opinion.
> In your mind, does killing a horse warrant the death penalty?
Given the wanton and senseless manner in which that horse was murdered, yes. Definitely. It wasn’t an accident, it was deliberate and for no good reason. That lack of value for life is reason enough for theirs to be terminated forthwith.
> If so, how about a dog?
Definitely, and without doubt.
> A cat? A rabbit?
Yup. Even a cat or a rabbit. If it was killed wantonly by scumbags, then the scumbags ought to be hanged.
> I first recognized the insanity while viewing an animal planet “cops” show featuring a couple of animal control types speeding across town in their cruiser, lights flashing, siren blaring, running red lights.... all to “rescue” a bunch of dumbs cats that were being neglected.
And exactly what is “insane” about that??
> If they’d caused an accident on the way, I’m sure you would be fine with that too, right?
Straw man. If it was authorized to flash lights and exceed the speeding limit then it would be subject to all the rules and responsibilities afforded to other emergency vehicles. And all the penalties that go with it as well.
Excellent answers.....Why some people can’t see the logic and have common sense about things like this is just tragic. They are stuck on the ‘equating humans with animals thing’....which is moot regarding things like this. Thanks for the ping.
> Excellent answers.....Why some people cant see the logic and have common sense about things like this is just tragic. They are stuck on the equating humans with animals thing....which is moot regarding things like this. Thanks for the ping.
Cheers, Fawn — you’re welcome for the ping. It will be interesting to see if he comes back with a retort.
Not an “equation” to human life at all. It’s a HUGE red flag - those morons showed complete disrespect and disregard to the animal AND the animal’s owners.
It is a known fact that anyone who engages in animal abuse 99% of the time, goes on to perpetrate crimes on helpless and innocent human beings. I say make an example out of them. Too many people like you blow off crimes like these by saying people like me equate human life to an animal’s..........and you could not be more wrong.
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