11/28/09: Killing Phoenix Update
Twins Indicted, Arraignment 12/9/09
December 9, 2009 before the Honorable David W. Young
UPDATE: Remember Phoenix, the one-year-old pit bull terrier soaked in
gasoline and set afire? Police officer Syreeta Teel spotted her flailing in
the streets and heroically pounded out the flames with her sweatshirt.
Phoenix “rose from the ashes” long enough to be loved by her rescuers, but
was ultimately euthanized when extensive burns caused her kidneys to fail.
Now, her killers, twin brothers Tremayne and Travers Johnson, 17, have been
indicted and face arraignment DEC. 9, 2009. Indictment is not a guilty
verdict. They are still “innocent” until proven guilty. PHOTO: Baltimore Sun
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Honorable David W. Young
227 Courthouse East
111 N. Calvert Street / Baltimore, MD 21202
ph: 410-396-5076, 410-396-5077; fax 410-545-7316
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Honorable Patricia C. Jessamy, Baltimore City State’s Attorney
208 Clarence Mitchell Jr. Courthouse
110 North Calvert Street / Baltimore, Maryland 21202
ph: 410-396-4987; fax: 410-539-5215
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Kimberly B. Morton, Esq., Deputy State’s Attorney:
Communications, Margaret Burns, Chief:
Investigations, Cynthia H. Jones, Esq., Deputy State’s Attorney:
Mayor Sheila Dixon
City Hall, Room 250 100 N. Holliday St. / Baltimore, MD 21202
ph: 410-396-3835; fax 410-576-9425
Baltimore City Council, Office of the President
City Hall, 100 N. Holliday St., Suite 400 / Baltimore, MD 21202
President, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake:
410-396-4804; fax: 410-539-0647
District 1, James B. Kraft:
410-396-4821; fax: 410-347-0547; James.Kraft@baltimorecity.gov
District 2, Nicholas D’Adamo, Jr:
410-396-4808; fax: 410-396-4414; Nicholas.D’Adamo@baltimorecity.gov
District 3, Robert Curran:
410-396-4812; fax: 410-396-8621; Robert.Curran@baltimorecity.gov
District 4, Bill Henry:
410-396-4830; fax: 410-659-1792; Bill.Henry@baltimorecity.gov
District 5, Rochelle “Rikki” Spector:
410-396-4819; fax: 410-396-6800; Rochelle.Spector@baltimorecity.gov
District 6, Sharon Green Middleton:
410-396-4832; fax: 410-244-5343; Sharon.Middleton@baltimorecity.gov
District 7, Belinda Conaway:
410-396-4810; fax: 410-347-0537; Belinda.Conaway@baltimorecity.gov
District 8, Helen Holton:
410-396-4818; fax: 410-396-4828; Helen.Holton@baltimorecity.gov
District 9, Agnes Welch:
410-396-4815; fax: 410-545-3857; Agnes.Welch@baltimorecity.gov
District 10, Edward Reisinger Council Vice-President:
410-396-4822; fax: 410-545-7353; Edward.Reisinger@baltimorecity.gov
District 11, William H. Cole IV:
410-396-4816; fax: 410-545-7464; William.Cole@baltimorecity.gov
District 12, Bernard “Jack” Young:
410-396-4811; fax: 410-396-1594; Bernard.Young@baltimorecity.gov
District 13, Warren Branch:
410-396-4829; fax: 410-347-0534; Warren.Branch@baltimorecity.gov
District 14, Mary Pat Clarke:
410-396-4814; fax: 410-545-7585; MaryPat.Clarke@baltimorecity.gov
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Honorable David W. Young, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Office, Mayor
Sheila Dixon and City Council:
I have followed the case of Phoenix, a one-year-old pit bull terrier soaked
in gasoline and set afire on May 27, 2009. I understand the Baltimore City
Grand Jury indicted twin brothers Tremayne and Travers Johnson, 17, on five
counts of animal abuse and cruelty.
I thank the state’s attorney office and court for its serious deliberation
in this heinous crime. Phoenix was euthanized in caring hands after her
kidneys failed. Swollen and charred, her immune system simply couldn’t
handle burns covering 95% of her body.
But this case is as much about the twins as it is about Phoenix. These
youths are so desensitized to suffering, they ignored the cries of a living
creature enveloped in flames.
I urge you to levy felony animal cruelty penalties that include up to three
years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and mandatory counseling. If the Johnsons
are involved in dogfighting, as suggested by puncture wounds seen on
Phoenix, please punish them under animal fighting laws too. I hope you will
ensure these teens are barred from contact with animals.
Juvenile violence is often connected with musings on death and Goth anarchy.
Along with these dark images comes a fascination with victimizing animals.
Indeed, Columbine’s Eric Harris, D.C. serial killer Lee Boyd Malvo, murderer
Kip Kinkle and others “practiced” on animals before graduating to people.
Andrew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, killed dogs in Jonesboro,
Arkansas prior to gunning down four students and one teacher. Mississippi
16-year-old Luke Woodham mortally stabbed his mother, killed three
classmates and shot seven more. Later in court, he confessed to bludgeoning
his dog with baseball bats and setting her on fire.
One U.S. study revealed that five of 11 killers involved in nine separate
school rampages had formerly abused animals. In another study, “Childhood
Cruelty Toward Animals Among Criminals and Noncriminals,” 25% of aggressive
criminals confessed to five or more acts of torturing animals.
Clearly, the animal-to-human violence link demands your utmost attention. I
reiterate my request that Mayor Dixon and the City Council address violence
at its roots by creating an animal abuse task force with citizen
representation. Please also empower animal control officers under the police
department and advocate prosecution in all animal abuse and fighting cases.
Thank you, in advance, for punishing Phoenix’ killers to the fullest degree
allowed by law.
SOURCE OF INFORMATION / REFERENCE LINKS
Twins indicted in Phoenix burning case
Dog doused in gasoline, set on fire, Baltimore, MD (US)
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