About 50 animal-rights supporters packed the 'Justice Bus' on their way from the Stray Rescue to Darick Stallworth's sentencing. In August 2012, Stallworth admitted to skinning three dogs alive, and then strangling them in a West-City house in May. Several riding the bus hoped for the maximum 12-year sentence, while some braced for no jail time.
'I guess I do think there should be some jail time,' Maryanne Dersch hesitated. 'But I don`t... I feel like the court decides what that punishment is.'
The activists packed the courthouse and later celebrated after Stallworth got four years for felony animal cruelty plus 15 days for misdemeanor animal neglect. As Stallworth`s stepfather spoke to us, the animal-rights supporters celebrated.
'He ain`t never been in trouble before in his life,' he tried to say, before the courthouse step erupted in cheers
The family said Stallworth has a brain injury. The 31-year-old survived a car crash at age six. They say he needed mental-health care instead of prison time.
'Is the time going to help him change his mind,' asked Herbert Harris. 'Or, is it going to really help him?'
But prosecutors said Stallworth used to be in a gang. And Stray Rescue's Randy Grimm helped carry the dead dogs from the scene.
'[Stallworth has] been very capable of a lot of things, especially in his gang history,' Grimm said of Stallworth`s ability to stop himself. 'So, he`s capable.'
In August, Stallworth's grandmother suffered a seizure in court when she heard the graphic details.
'I`m hurtin`,' Debra Henry, Stallworth`s mother, fought back tears. 'I`m about to break down, but I`m going to be strong from my son and my mother.'
'I feel sorry for his family,' Randy Grim explained. 'But, he`s where he needs to be: locked up and away from society.'
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