LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Judgement day in a headline grabbing crime. The 20 year old man who used a Samurai sword to brutally kill a dog went to court for sentencing today.
Aron Simoneaux found the courtroom filled with spectators hoping to see justice for the Chow killed. The courtroom was filled with members of various organizations dedicated to the humane treatment of animals. They came seeking justice for a dog named Puppy-- a Chow that was hacked to death by a young man with a Samurai sword whose defense attorney says was high on drugs and alcohol and who may have a phobia of dogs and other mental problems. "I'm not saying a diagnosed phobia but he did have mental health disorders, ADHD and extreme anxiety disorder. He had scars on his face from when another dog, a very similar dog, another Chow, this was a Chow, had latched on to him and he had to have his chin and cheek sewn up from when he was thirteen years old. But he admitted that he had been drinking and using drugs when this happened and he did bad thing."
But not even his defense attorney is trying to excuse Aaron Simoneaux's behavior. The 20 year old sat in the courtroom weeping as the time approached for the judge to pass sentence. Simoneaux apologized, though prosecutors say he's a liar whose version of what happened is at odds with physical evidence in the case.
Paul Reynolds says his family appreciates all the community support. "They are heart broken to have lost their pet. People that love pets like we do, that's like a child to us you know. It's like losing a child. I've got a son his age. I feel kind of confused. I feel sorry for him but I mean it's terrible what he did to us."
Judge Kent savoie sentenced Simoneaux to 7 years in prison, which will begin with an 18 month boot camp. If successfully completed Simoneaux should be out on parole in less than two years. D.A. John DeRosier says justice is served. "I think the criminal justice system has sent a message to people who would abuse animals in Calcasieu Parish and that message is we're going to take care of you if you abuse animals in Calcasieu Parish, make sure that you pay the consequences. That behavior is not appropriate."
People's advocate spokesman Beth Zilbert says such cases need to be treated seriously because those who hurt animals often also hurt people. "For lack of a better term, you move up the food chain and you keep doing that same kind of torture to other creatures and then humans. It's directly related to child abuse, domestic violence."
Zilbert says 68 per cent of domestic violence cases start with animals in the home. Since he was first arrested Simoneaux has served 229 days in jail.
Conditions of his parole would include treatment for drug and alcohol problems, anger management and getting his G.E.D.