Vincent Boykin - witnessed as he set fire to a puppy
Tristen Hataway - witnessed as he set fire to a puppy

In a sad turn of events, charges were dropped against the two Memphis men, Vincent Boykin, 20, and Tristan Hataway, 18, who doused a small shepherd mix puppy with gasoline and set it on fire. The puppy, named Hope by rescuers, had to be euthanized due to the severity of her injuries.

Now these scum are back on the streets, wreaking havoc and who knows who their next victim will be!

General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Loyce Lambert-Ryan made her ruling at the end of a probable-cause hearing in which one of the state’s key witnesses (Jessica Agnew) was missing and another, who had dated one of the defendants, denied telling police the defendants were involved.

“There has not been proper identification established and the state did not carry its burden today,” Lambert-Ryan said before turning to the two defendants. “Today justice was on your side.”

Lambert-Ryan acknowledged from the bench that her ruling would not be well received by many and noted that she has received e-mails from some state legislators telling her of links between animal cruelty and serial killers.

“For the record,” she said, “I love dogs, too.” (Commercial Appeal)

They both have previous criminal records. Hataway was just released from jail prior to this and was bond on charges of aggravated assault and aggravated burglary.

Boykin pleaded guilty to attempted voluntary manslaughter in 2007 for an incident in which he told police he hid in a trash can for hours before shooting a man in the leg.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Gen. James Challen said the case would be reviewed for possible presentation to a grand jury.

“Dismissal (in General Sessions) is not the end of it,” he said.

I just have a sad feeling this is the end for this case, I hope I am proven wrong. Maybe lots of pressure will give them incentive to push forward with the case.

As much as I hate it, I understand why the Judge had to dismiss the charges but let’s do our part and write, email and call and tell them not to let this be the end of it. These ‘men’ are a danger, a serious danger!

District Attorney
William L. Gibbons,
District Attorney General
Shelby County District Attorney’s Office
201 Poplar Avenue, Third Floor
Memphis, Tennessee 38103

The following is a follow-up I got via email from someone who has been close to the case and involved, thanks Janie for the info but so heartbroken that there is not Justice!!

I wanted to advise there was no justice for little Hope. As things unfolded in court 9-14-08, the two witnesses had a lapse of memory. Neither would ID Vincent Boykin or Tristan Hathaway in court as the ones who set Hope on fire. The officers who were present at the scene the day the incident occured also had ‘memory’ problems. One didn’t fill out a report (which I think is part of the job) describing that the two witnesses ID both Boykin and Hathaway. Another officer couldn’t remember if they were the two taken into custody that day. A severe case of mass memory malfunction! Boykin and Hathaway walked……….

There was no excuse for what Boykin and Hathaway did. What is worse, there was no excuse for memory lapses by so many, most of all, the MPD!

Sadly, this was another case of ‘it was just a dog’.

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