For Gizmo, justice, so long awaited has finally come… sort of, anyway. After only a one day trial and an obviously short jury deliberation, one of his murderers was found guilty today. Chad Crawford was found guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals, the misdemeanor charge. Unfortunately the jury deadlocked on the more serious charge, the intentional killing of an animal. Had Crawford been convicted of that felony he could have faced two to 4 years in jail, officials said.
Chad Crawford took the stand in his own defense on Tuesday and said he never kicked Gizmo and never saw the dog until the animal was already dead.
He faces a maximum sentence of 11 months and 29 days in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in November.
Crawford said that he and two of his friends had been drinking and watching a remake of the movie “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” when they decided to go outside. He said a short time later the owner of the dog came running up to them and blamed him for Gizmo’s death.
“The only logical answer I can come up with is that your dog could have been hit by a car and it was underneath the car. It was a parked car, but I don’t know if it got hit and went under there afterwards. It’s hard to say,” said Crawford.
A pathologist testified Tuesday that Gizmo likely died from a single hard blow that is most consistent with a kick.
The owners, Jelani Lewis and Jessica McKenzie, sued over the death of Gizmo and a settlement was reached, but the deal fell apart last year and the lawsuit, too, is headed for trial.
On Monday, the dog owner testified that he walked away from his pet for just a moment to throw away some trash and returned to see three men stomping on the dog.
He said Crawford then took a couple of steps and kicked the animal like a football.
“Chad Crawford stepped back and kicked Gizmo. After he kicked, they cheered like they just won a game,” said Gizmo’s Owner Jelani King.
Prosecutors had the man use a stuffed animal to re-enact what he saw for the jury.
The man accused of holding the dog while Crawford allegedly kicked the animal will be tried later. (WSMV)
Although he faces up to 11 months and 29 days in prison, there is a sad possibility that he may receive probation rather than an actual prison sentence.
I admit to being yet again disappointed at the injustice of justice when it comes to animal cruelty!