The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 28, 2012

Man back in court in deaths of dogs

By WARREN DILLAWAY - warren@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON —  A Colebrook Township man pleaded not guilty during his initial appearance in Eastern County Court Thursday morning in connection with the shooting deaths of two dogs on Storey Road, Colebrook Township.

Walter Pace, 66, is charged with two counts of prohibitions concerning companion animals following the April shootings,

Pace  faces a a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine in the first-degree misdemeanor crime, said attorney Michael Dylan Brennan, who sat in on the proceedings held in the judge’s chambers.

Brennan is representing the Richards family, who owned the two dogs who were allegedly shot by Pace when they wandered from their home on Mains Road, according to sheriff’s reports and court records.

Richards said her dogs were used to being inside and went outside to play when one of the dogs chewed through a collar and both took off to explore.

A witness claims to have seen Pace shoot both dogs and leave them on the side of a road for dead, according to sheriff’s reports filed in April.

A trial on the charges ended on Nov. 8 just before closing arguments were to begin when Wynn said the amended complaints used to charge Pace were missing the word “knowingly,” which was necessary for prosecution.

“We’re going to file a motion to dismiss on the issue of double jeopardy,” said Pace’s attorney, Leo J. Talikka. He said he believes the case was actually tried so Pace can not be tried again since the case was dismissed.

A pre-trial hearing on the issue will be scheduled, court officials said Thursday