From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1996:

Crimes against humans

Thomas Hamilton, 43, of
Dunblane, Scotland, held permits for
hunting weapons including a shotgun and
two rifles, as well as for the four pistols he
possessed as a target shooter and used on
March 13 to kill 16 five-and-six-year-olds,
along with their teacher, wounding 17 others.
Hunters on the America Online
“Animals and Society” discussion board
nonetheless rushed to deny that Hamilton was
a hunter. Some also argued that Hamilton
was not a “pervert,” since though long suspected
of pederasty, he was never formally
charged with an offense. Hamilton purported
to teach outdoor skills to boys for more than
20 years, trying several times to start youth
clubs after he was ousted as a Boy Scout
leader in 1974 for keeping eight boys
overnight in a freezing van. At one point he
allegedly used his shotgun to threaten a boy’s
mother, but when she called the police she
was told they could do nothing because he
was licensed to have the weapon.

Calls to impeach Brooklyn judge
Lorin Duckman resounded throughout New
York after he released Benito Oliver, 35, of
New Rochelle, from jail on January 24 on
$2,000 bail, so that Oliver could be reunited
with his dog. The dog was in custody of
Oliver’s former girlfriend, Galina Komar,
whom Oliver attacked three times in late
November and December, at least once holding
a butcher knife to her throat. Oliver had
placed three threatening calls to her on
December 27 from his cell. “He has been in
jail enough for a person who is charged with
these crimes,” Duckman insisted over the
objections of prosecutors. “I want to know
about the dog.” Ten days later, Oliver shot
Komar dead, then shot himself.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
agent Kelvin Smith, 42, of New
Bloomfield, Pennsylvania, was arraigned on
February 29 in Harrisburg for allegedly lying
to the FBI about the nature and extent of the
paramilitary training he gave to the Islamic
extremists who bombed the World Trade
Center in 1993.
Leftist rebels reportedly loaded a
burro with 130 sticks of dynamite, then
blew her up by remote control when she
approached the police station in Chelan,
Colombia, on March 13. The blast and the
shooting attack by the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia that followed killed 11
police officers. Colombian authorities said
FARC, founded in 1964, had not previously
used animals in bombings.
The South Australian Director of
Public Prosecutions announced February 20
that three executives of the bankrupt meat
firm Garibaldi Smallgoods shall be prosecuted
for manslaughter over the death of a fouryear-old
girl from hemolytic uremic syndrome
caused by contamination. Another 22
children and one adult were also stricken
between November 1994 and February 1995.

Downer test case
A potential first court test of the
California Downed Animal Act ended in a
plea bargain on March 15. After allegedly
beating a critically ill calf to death with a
cane and a hammer in September 1995,
Turlock Livestock Auction Inc. manager
Russell Felch, TLA itself, and TLA owner
Karen Cozzi were charged with both animal
cruelty and violating the downer act. The
cruelty charges and all charges against
Cozzi were dropped when Felch and TLA
agreed to plead “no contest” to the downer
charge, for which each was fined $500 and
agreed to donate $1,000, tax deductible, to
SPAY of Modesto. Humane Farming
Association president Brad Miller, long
critical of the downer act, charged that it
enabled the defendants to escape stiffer
penalties. “The fines are chump change to
the meat industry,” Miller said. “The only
thing the industry fears is jail time or
restrictions on their ability to do business.
To avoid that, they will now happily plead
‘no contest’” to the downer law, which protects
them from the stigma associated with
an actual cruelty conviction.”

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