From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1998:

Circuit judge Dennis P.
M a l o n e y of Lakeland, Florida, on
January 24 sentenced Frederick Martin
III, 36, to serve five months in jail, and
also convicted his wife, Janet Martin,
33, who will be sentenced this summer,
for falsely testifying in September 1997
that their son Freddie Martin, 13, had
no previous arrest record. Freddie
Martin and David Clark Elliott, 11,
were charged with felony animal cruelty
for hanging a neighbor’s dog from a tree,
then killing her with a lawn trimmer. In
fact, Freddie Martin was a fugitive from
justice in Ossipee, New Hampshire,
where he was charged in October 1996
for stabbing four pigs, who survived,
and sexually mutilating a sheep, who
died. The Martins moved to Florida after
two hearings in the New Hampshire case.

Freddie Martin was eventually found
incompetent to stand trial. Elliot was
sentenced to two years of house arrest
and mental health counseling.
In a classic “link” case i l l u strating
how unpunished animal abuse can
lead to mayhem against humans, Florida
circuit court judge Jerry Lockett o n
February 27 sentenced teen vampire cult
leader Rod Ferrell, 17, to die in the
electric chair for killing R i c h a r d
Wendorf and Naoma Ruth Queen, of
Eustis, Florida, on Thanksgiving 1996,
as Ferrell and three friends helped
Wendorf and Queen’s daughter Heather,
then 15, to run away from home. Police
said as many as 30 youths were involved
in the Kentucky-based vampire cult.
Before the murders, Ferrell and another
defendent, Howard Scott Anderson,
then 16, were identified as suspects but
not charged in connection with the breakin
and mutilation killings of two puppies
at the dog pound in Murray, Kentucky.
Jeffrey Davidson, 41, of
Junction City, Kansas, pleaded no contest
to involuntary manslaughter on
March 12 for his part in the April 1997
fatal mauling of Christopher Wilson,
11, by the three Davidson family
Rottweilers. Davidson was to be sentenced
on April 1. His wife, S a b i n e
Davidson, 27, was on January 23 convicted
of unintentional second-degree
murder, as well as charges of child
endangerment because the dogs also
menaced the victim’s brother, age 9,
and was on March 3 sentenced to serve
12 years in prison. She remains free,
pending appeal, on $50,000 bond.
Parallel cases brought opposite
verdicts in Milwaukee on February
25 and Sacramento two days later.
Milwaukee court commissioner Audrey
R. Brooks ruled that Allen Noble c o u l d
not be charged with criminal battery for
allegedly ordering his pit bull terrier to
attack a woman on February 9, because
while the dog might legally qualify as “a
dangerous weapon,” a purported attack
command does not meet the legal test for
battery. However, a Sacramento jury
convicted one Stephen McMichael o f
attempted torture, domestic violence,
false imprisonment, assault with a deadly
weapon, and child endangerment for
allegedly setting his Doberman pinscher
on his wife, Tannis McMichael, who
was severely bitten on both arms, both
legs, and her throat. The victim and her
child testified that the defendant used the
commands, “Get her, get her, Weezie,
good dog.” The defendant was reportedly
on probation for holding a gun to the
victim’s head on a previous occasion.
A jury in Hollidaysburg,
P e n n s y v a n i a, on March 6 acquitted
Polly Weyant, 46, of Hollidaysburg of
murder for shooting her husband of 26
years, David Weyant, as he slept on
Veteran’s Day 1996, after he allegedly
kicked the family husky out of bed.
The 12th Ohio District Court
of Appeals on February 2 reversed a
1996 Hamilton Municipal Court ruling
t h a t Flora Hileman, convicted of
neglecting 13 dogs and cats, must pay
restitution of $2,460 to the H u m a n e
Association of Butler County. The
appeals court found that Ohio law permits
restitution in misdemeanor cases
only for property damage. As animal
care is not “damage,” the court held,
Hileman need pay only a fine of $305
and serve two years on probation.
Former veterinarian Daryl
L a r s o n, 45, of Delmar, Iowa, has
reportedly filed for bankruptcy instead of
paying a fine of $16,311 for dumping
more than 2,000 hog carcasses on a farm
he owns in Craig, Missouri. Larson
allegedly allowed the hogs to starve.
“Court records show Larson has declared
assets of $1.3 million against liabilities of
$713,114,” Associated Press reported.
Larson allegedly also allowed whole
barns of hogs to starve in Iowa in 1993,
1994, and 1997, but has yet to pay a significant
legal penalty

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