Cody Hetrick & Alex Smith of Brookville, Pennsylvania charged w/ felony animal cruelty after torturing deer & ripping off its antlers on video.
Two Jefferson County, Pennsylvania teens who posted video of them abusing a deer while hunting have been charged with felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty. The charges follow wide community rebuke demanding the youths face charges after graphic video showed the teens callously torturing a wounded deer.
Alex Smith, 18, and Cody Hetrick, 17, of Brookville were charged by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office on Friday according to a posted news release.
Outrage followed after the teen’s initial video posted on Snapshot was re posted on Facebook and quickly going viral, as social media users continued to repost, demanded the teens be brought to justice.
A petition urging authorities to charge the teens with criminal crimes and impose maximum sentences on them had reached over 738,000 signatures.
Smith and Hetrick now face two counts of felony aggravated animal cruelty, two counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated animal cruelty, with Smith also facing the additional charge of corruption of his minor accomplice, and tampering with physical evidence.
If convicted, Smith faces up to a maximum prison sentence of more than 37 years. Hetrick, who is still legally a juvenile, would have his penalty determined in the juvenile court system. Smith was released after clearing $50,000 unsecured bail the York Daily Record reported.
realDonaldTrump please make a example of these 2 boys from Brookesville PA Alex Smith and Cody Hetrick (their parents own a BBQ there called Devil’s BBQ) this is completely uncalled for and sad. Thank you! #alwaysasupporter #trumpistheman pic.twitter.com/4d0vNbD7iq
— Toni Zaccagnini (@ToniZaccagnini3) December 1, 2019
Posted graphic footage showed the youths kick the wounded deer repeatedly and then laugh about it. As the animal draws its last breath, the two proceed to tear off one of its antlers in the video posted last November.
Over the course of the next two and a quarter months, calls to have the youths charged continued to intensify with community outrage continuing to gain ground.
‘It’s easy to understand why people were outraged by the incident,’ Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners President Tim Layton said in a press release. ‘But the worst-case scenario would have been rushing the investigation and heading into court with a case that wasn’t as strong as it could have been.’
Jeff Burkett, the Jefferson County district attorney, said: “People have assumed that officers have been dragging their feet when, actually, the opposite is true. They have put a lot of hard work in on this case in order to present the case for the prosecution. I commend the Pennsylvania Game Commission for their efforts in this matter.’
Smith is the stepson of Brookville, Pennsylvania Police Chief Vince Markle, reports KDKA-TV. While he was arraigned and released on $50,000 unsecured bail, the younger accomplice is about to head to juvenile court.
— Bill Newbold (@billfish215) December 1, 2019