Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Racine man takes plea deal in dog-bashing death


By Kristin Zambo, from The Journal Times

Racine, WI

A Racine man pleaded no contest on Monday to repeatedly bashing his dog’s head on the ground, killing his 4-year-old pet, for going to the bathroom inside the apartment.

Thomas M. Hinson, 38, allegedly was drunk on Jan. 30 when he reportedly slammed his pit bull’s head to the floor — killing Chaka, the dog he had owned since he was a puppy, according to Hinson’s criminal complaint.

Hinson pleaded no contest during Monday’s plea hearing to one count of mistreating an animal resulting in death, which is a felony. A no-contest plea means Hinson doesn’t admit to the allegations, but doesn’t contest prosecutors’ ability to prove the charge in court.

Neighbors in Hinson’s building reported hearing “loud booming sounds” and a dog barking and yelping at approximately midnight, according to the complaint. Neighbors said they repeatedly went to Hinson’s apartment to investigate, but Hinson said he was angry at his dog for going to the bathroom inside.

One neighbor reportedly told Hinson to “cool down and leave the dog alone.” However, the noises didn’t stop.

The third time neighbors went to check, they allegedly saw Hinson on top of Chaka, holding the dog by his ear and nose, bashing his head on the kitchen floor, the complaint stated.

According to neighbors, Hinson said he wanted to kill Chaka, but got off his dog when those neighbors arrived. When Hinson went to check on Chaka, the dog was motionless, bleeding from the head, the complaint stated.

He allegedly began “crying over the dog and tried to make him get up.” When a neighbor said Chaka was dead, Hinson wrapped his dog in a blanket and placed Chaka on his dog bed. He put Chaka in a shed for one of the neighbors to bury later, according to the complaint.

Neighbors told police Hinson appeared heavily drunk, and this wasn’t the first time he’d beaten Chaka, the complaint stated.

Hinson remains free on $500 cash bond, court records show.

Racine County Circuit Judge Charles Constantine set his sentencing for Sept. 6. He could be sentenced to prison and extended supervision, or probation.

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