Gizmo, ‘Place Kicked’ Dog’s Accused Killer Finally on Trial
Three and a half years in coming but finally one of Gizmo’s accused killers is finally facing his day in court. In April 4, 2004, three very sick and twisted men thought it would be amusing to have some fun with a tiny, 2-lb, 16 yr old Yorkshire Terrier. Their ‘fun’ consisted of one holding the tiny dog like a football and another kicking it among other things. The poor dog flew through the air, landing approximately 30 feet away, his tiny body rolling under a parked vehicle. The men laughed about it then took off. All of this while Gizmo’s owner, Jelani Lewis, watched in horror!
Chad Crawford is charged with aggravated animal cruelty as well as charges of intentional killing of an animal, a felony.
The trial began yesterday in Nashville in this case that sparked outrage around the world when it happened.
Jelani Lewis, Gizmo’s owner, was taking the trash out and the tiny dog was was doing his business when Lewis heard cries coming from Gizmo. When he investigated, his initial relief that the three men around his dog were comforting it turned to horror when he saw them stomping and kicking the tiny dog.
The dog owner said he ran toward the cries and was initially relieved when he saw the three men around Gizmo because most of the neighbors liked to pet the tiny Yorkshire terrier, he said.”I stood there and within a few moments Chad Crawford stepped back and kicked Gizmo, and after he kicked Gizmo they cheered like they had just won a game,” King testified.
Crawford, he said, made the symbol for a field goal in football and said, ‘It’s good!”
The prosecutor on the case, Assistant District Attorney General Roger Moore, told the jury in opening statements that Gizmo was not a human victim but that what was done to the animal was a crime.
Crawford’s lawyer, Stephen Ogle, of Maryville, Tenn., said his client didn’t kick or kill Gizmo.
“He loves animals,” Ogle told the jury. “He’s not somebody who would kill a little harmless Yorkshire terrier.” (Tennessean)
LaTresa Cunningham also witnessed the act and took the stand Monday.
She said, “Jelani asked… …them, he said, ‘Why did you kill my dog?’ At first he [Crawford] said, ‘I did it because I didn’t know what it was.’ So he admitted to doing it a couple of times…”
Michael Lee Davis, who is accused of holding the dog down while Crawford is accused of getting a running start and kicking Gizmo, Davis will be tried at a later date. They face up to 12 years on the slaying charge and 11 months and 29 days on the cruelty charge if convicted. Crawford would serve only 30 percent of that before being eligible for parole.
“The emotions have run high in this case,” said Stephen Ogle, Crawford’s lawyer. “I compare it to a juvenile court case involving a child, where the allegations are so terrible that people rush to judgment based on the horrific quality of the crime alleged.”
He believes this is the reason that no plea deal was offered the two defendants, unlike many criminal cases. The criminal case file is peppered with letters addressed to Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins and one to Davidson County District Attorney Torry Johnson from people outside the state demanding severe punishment.
“No matter what the prosecution agreed to, it would be less than what the headhunters would want, so I think they were basically in the position, ‘let the jury and the judge make a decision on it,’ ” he said.
We can only hope that for Gizmo, justice will finally prevail and his killer will be punished.
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