The boy who brutalized tiny Little Heart on May 28, 2011 was sentenced this week. Though a 9 year old hero stepped in, the kitten later died. A felony charge was dropped to a misdemeanor because Little Heart did not have a home; and the prosecutor who worked to find him guilty is of the mind that thugs and bullies need help, not punishment.
The young thug who brutalized a tiny, helpless kitten in broad daylight at a Suffolk, Virginia playground one day last May, and was found guilty in October, finally heard his sentence this week.
As many readers will recall, Jamarea Mills and his brother were playing with a tiny 7 week old kitten when a bully came along and snatched the animal away from them. A group of children looked on helplessly as the 12 year old boy callously and viciously brutalized the kitten for fun. When the tormenter pulled out a pocket knife and announced that he was about to “cut” the kitten, 9 year old hero Jamarea was compelled to act. He knocked the knife from the bully’s hands and the kitten was spared. Animal control came and took the kitten to the shelter and he was placed in foster care. Little Heart was rushed to the vet with breathing difficulties on the night of June 2, and died in the wee hours of the morning of Friday, June 3, the day he was supposed to go from foster care to his loving forever home.
Local authorities took the case seriously, investigated rigorously and followed through. The then 12 year old was immediately charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, pending necropsy results. When the post mortem examination determined that Little Heart died as a result of the youth’s brutality, the charge was upgraded to a felony. Before the case came to trial, however, the charge was again downgraded to a misdemeanor due to a point of state law: felony animal cruelty can only be charged when a companion animal is neglected, tortured or killed. Crimes against stray and wild animals are misdemeanors.
The killer, whose name remains protected, was found guilty on October 18. The young witnesses and their families deserve great credit; their testimony was important to the case, and they appeared in court knowing they would have to continue living in the same community as the thug and his family going forward.
While the prosecutor praised investigators and commended the witnesses for helping to win the case, she appears to be of the helping sociopaths rather than punishing them school of thought. Susan Walton was quoted at the time saying “To be that cruel, what concerns me is that you need to evaluate why that would happen and hopefully get him some help.” We were informed that the sentence would likely be “some form of rehabilitation or counseling” rather than punishment.
The court followed through, as expected, and the mandated outcome is as follows: supervised probation, a mentoring program, therapy and a suspended 30 day sentence in juvenile detention.
And so it ends. As with every other successfully prosecuted case, there remains a letdown even thought justice has been served. The one positive that could possibly come from this case would be if the residents of Virginia and their representatives decided that the life of a stray or abandoned, animal should have equal value with those who have homes and human families.
See more coverage at our index of Little Heart stories.