Crime, punishment, and mega-rewards
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2001:
SAN JOSE, Calif.–Andrew Burnett, 27, on July 13 drew the maximum sentence of three years in prison for felony cruelty from Santa Clara County Superior Court judge Kevin J. Murphy. A jury on June 20 convicted him of grabbing a bichon frise named Leo from Sara
McBurnett of Incline Village, Nevada, after a minor freeway accident in San Jose airport, and hurling the dog to his death in heavy traffic.
The February 2000 incident drew global attention, not only as a dramatic example of a “Link” case, in which a man kills an animal to intimidate a woman, but also because a reward fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer soared to $115,000.
The Humane Society of the Santa Clara Valley on June 28 distributed $70,000 among five witnesses and tipsters, including a witness who testified that he saw Burnett kick a dog to death when they served together in the U.S. Navy. Our Animal WARDS, of Virginia, withdrew $45,000 of the $50,000 it offered to solve the case, after spending $5,000 on work by a private detective.
Burnett was additionally convicted on July 22 of stealing $30,000 worth of tools from a Pacific Bell telephone repair van in December 2000 and then driving it off a cliff to conceal the crime. Sentencing was set for September 21.