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.
They ought to treat this pair like hoss thieves of old, and string ‘em up. Let the punishment fit the crime!