A man has been sentenced to five years in prison after setting fire to a dog and leaving it to die.
20-year-old Jyahshua A. Hill was originally arrested in May this year and charged with felony animal cruelty by the US Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force.
The dog reportedly suffered burns to more than 40 percent of his body, after Hill tied the dog to a fence post, covered it in a flammable liquid and set fire to it.
The dog, named Tommie, was treated for his injuries, but sadly died five days later. According to reports, Hill attacked Tommie the pitbull after he found out his two-year-old child had been bitten, the Mirror reports. Hill claimed he had ‘blacked out’ due to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, though the courts did not accept his reasons for the attack.
I know what I did was wrong, and I’m sorry because I took it that far – but I did what I had to do to protect my kid.
Hill was indicted a grand jury. He entered a plea deal and was sentenced to five years in prison.
In a statement to NBC12, Richmond Police Department said:
As part of a plea agreement, Hill will serve five years in prison, the maximum sentence allowable by law, without the possibility of parole. In addition, he will have three years of post-release supervision by the court. He is also barred from owning or possessing animals for life.
During his arraignment, Hill’s wife reportedly claimed his name was falsely given to police so someone else could collect the $25,000 reward money for capturing the dog’s killer. Hill’s wife said she had never seen the dog before.
The case caught the public’s attention in Richmond, with hundreds of people donating money to the cause.
Investigators are saying information provided to them by the community was key to helping them solve the case and catch those responsible.
Police Chief William C. Smith said:
There are a lot of people to thank, but I’d like to single out all the citizens who contributed tips that pointed us in the right direction.
That, plus the excellent job done by arson investigators who did the bulk of the work, major crimes detectives, forensics technicians and animal control officers who all built a strong case to present to the grand jury.
Virginia has now passed a law known as ‘Tommie’s Law’ to provide bigger sentences and penalties for animal abuse.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.