The Conley brothers allegedly stabbed and hanged their pit bull Friday September 6th around 6:50 p.m. Friday Judge Hugh Clarke determined there is enough evidence against the two brothers and moved their case forward.
Four witnesses took the stand in the courtroom to testify against the two. 33-year-old Benjamin and 30-year-old Nicholas are charged with violent animal killing and torture. The two are accused of hanging and stabbing a pit bull.
"I saw Nick up on the roof, holding the rope or chain, whatever it was--I couldn't see what they were hanging him with. I also saw the dog kicking off the house," said Denise Courter, the second witness to take the stand.
She said the dog was clawing the side of the house to try and support it's weight, but couldn't. She estimates the dog weighed between 60 and 80 pounds.
"I yelled at him and I said 'what in the f*** are you doing over there? What are you doing?' And he looked at me and said 'b**** if this dog did what my dog did to the kid, you'd be doing the same thing," said Courter.
Courter testified the dog was hanging for at least three or four minutes.
Friday we learned the Conley's called the dog 'Killer.'
Gary Gray, the third witness, described a conversation he had with Nicholas the Saturday after the incident.
"He explained to me that he was the one that stabbed the dog six times," said Gray. He said Nicholas told him he had raised the dog since it was a pup. Another witness said the Conley's had the dog at least four years.
Deputy Kyle Hanney who works for Ingham County Animal Control describes what he found at the scene.
"The dog appeared to have multiple stab wounds to both sides of its abdomen. The dog had a chain around its neck. The chain was attached to a cinder block, and the dog and the cinder block were in what appeared to be a freshly dug out hole--approximately three and a half feet in diameter and about a foot deep," said Hanney. "On the west side leaning up against the house there was a shovel that had a wooden handle-- it appeared to have blood on the handle."
Hanney said there was also blood on the side of the house, starting three to four feet up that had dripped to the foundation--allegedly where the dog had been hanging.
He said the chain was the size of one you might use to pull a truck. The dog was still alive when Animal Control arrived.
"When he was placed in the back of my truck, he showed a lack of energy. He was breathing very hard panting--like he had exerted a lot of energy. He had a lot of blood coming out of what appeared to be the stab wounds to both sides of his abdomen," said Hanney.
The defense questioned animal controls procedures after an alleged dog hanging. Deputy Hanney said he was unaware if the dog's neck was inspected.
"Do you think it would be important if a dog was alleged to be hanged to be able to see the dog's neck?" asked the defense. "I would imagine so," said Hanney. Defense lawyers said Animal Control wanted to charge the victim's family more than $200 the night before to remove the dog after it bit Kaleb.
The dog had attacked Benjamin's 13-year old son Kaleb the night before.
The defense attorney's asked why Ingham County Animal Control didn't respond when the teen was bit the night before. Deputy Hanney explained that Animal Control's policy is that if the dog owner is also the guardian of the victim and they don't want Animal Control's involvement, then Animal Control doesn't respond.
"The evidence is clear it was their plan to kill the animal and then bury it in the back yard," said Judge Hugh Clarke, the 54A District Court Judge.
Friday the judge added additional conspiracy charges against the Conley brothers. The case was bound over to the Circuit Court with an arraignment scheduled for October 23rd. If convicted the two could face 4 years in prison and or a $5,000 fine.