On April 4, 2012, in an act of mind-boggling cruelty, a 4-month-old lab-terrier mix was doused in lighter fluid and set on fire. The puppy suffered third degree burns to 70 percent of his body and died of its injuries 10 days later.
Police eventually fingered four young men they say committed the crime. First came the arrest of now-19-year-old Darius Ewing, then, two months later, the indictment on animal cruelty charges of his alleged accomplices, Richard Valentine, 25, Darius Carey, 25, and Adrian Ayers, 21.
The trial of the four men was initially slated for March but was delayed when one of the attorneys came down with pneumonia. It has been delayed several times since and is now scheduled for August.
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Ayers, though, won't be attending. He pleaded guilty late last month to an animal cruelty charge, agreeing to serve two years in state jail and pay a $1,500 fine. That might prove to be a relatively easy out. Lots of very angry animal lovers will be watching that trial very closely.