Dog burner sentenced to 18 months

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 19, 2004

A Selma man will spend 18 months in jail for burning a dog to death.

Jonah Justin Edwards, 19, who pleaded guilty to dog/cat cruelty first degree late last year, received a 10-year suspended sentence from Fourth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Jack Meigs on Wednesday.

Edwards’ sentence stemmed from a September 2002 incident involving Roger and Missy Cook’s dog, Killer. According to Dallas County District Attorney Ed Greene, on Sept. 29, 2002, Edwards and Johnnie Lee Bell Jr., 19, poured lighter fluid on the dog, tied it to a bed frame in the woods and lit it on fire.

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At Edwards’ sentencing, Missy Cook told Meigs how her dog’s death affected her family. &uot;My son slept next to our bed for two weeks after it happened,&uot; she said. &uot;It could have happened to a kid. It could have been my kid. Some people might just say he was a dog, but he was part of the family.&uot;

Meigs also heard from Edwards’ attorney, Joseph Hagood. &uot;We asked for probation, but he has to serve 18 months before he has probation,&uot; Hagood said. &uot;It’s the judge’s decision.&uot;

Bell, Edward’s co-defendant, was scheduled for a youthful offender hearing on Wednesday, but the case was continued to April 8. &uot;There was no activity on the case today,&uot; said Joseph Fitzpatrick, Dallas County assistant district attorney.

If youthful offender status is granted, Bell will face one to three years in jail. If it isn’t, he will face one to 10 years.