DALLAS — Two more men pleaded guilty Tuesday to dousing a dog with lighter fluid and setting it on fire, but a reduced sentence for one of the defendants outraged animal rights activists.
"Justice" died several days after he was found burned at a Pleasant Grove apartment complex in April, 2012.
Darius Ewing — the man who poured the flammable liquid on Justice — agreed to a five-year sentence, but the judge lowered it to two years, saying prosecutors failed to prove that a "deadly weapon" was used.
"I'm shocked," said Jonnie England of the Texas Humane Alliance. "All of us who were in the courtroom today are shocked."
She said she didn't understand why the judge inserted his personal opinion into a sentence that prosecutors, the defense team and the defendant had already agreed on.
"There was just no justice for Justice here today," England said, adding that she hopes the state can appeal the reduced sentence for Ewing, 19, in a crime that carries a maximum 10-year penalty.
Richard Valentine, a second defendant, also pleaded guilty on Tuesday and received a 15-month jail term.
Two other men — Adrian Ayers and Darius Carey — have also pleaded guilty in the animal cruelty case.