A Grays Harbor County man will spend a year in jail after he admitted he hung a dog from a tree. He said he killed the dog, named Diamond, after it killed his iguana.
James Leroy Evans was arrested last year after the dog was found dead near Summit Lake. He pleaded guilty in Thurston County Superior Court to first-degree animal cruelty.
A year in jail is the maximum sentence for someone with Evans’ criminal history. Evans also is prohibited from possessing any animals, or living in a home with animals, for five years.
He was sentenced by Judge Carol Murphy.
In his guilty plea, Evans wrote that sometime in March 2016, he “intentionally killed an animal by means of causing undue suffering. I hung a dog after it killed my iguana.”
Diamond’s death was met with outrage from animal lovers throughout Thurston County and Washington state. Many of the dog’s supporters created a group named Justice for Diamond. A few people from the group were present during Friday’s sentencing.
“Now the beautiful, elegant, sweet lady Diamond can be at peace and laid to rest. God bless her brave tender, loving soul,” the group posted on Facebook.
According to court documents, the 3-year-old pit bull mix was discovered hanging from a tree March 21, 2016, on Department of Natural Resources property near Summit Lake. The dog’s toes were just barely touching the ground, and her front legs were clutching the tree trunk, according to documents.
A veterinary necropsy showed the dog died from asphyxiation, and that there was evidence of severe trauma to the dog’s anus and rectum.
Evans was charged with first-degree animal cruelty.
In December 2016, the Thurston County Prosecutor’s office amended the charge to first-degree animal cruelty with an aggravating circumstance and/or with sexual motivation.
“James Leroy Evans ... intentionally inflicted substantial pain on the animal, or intentionally caused physical injury to an animal, or intentionally killed an animal by a means causing undue suffering. It is further alleged that the defendant used his position of trust or confidence to facilitate the commission of this offense. It is further alleged that this offense was committed with sexual motivation,” court documents read.
Evans pleaded guilty to the initial charge on Friday. He is scheduled to begin his jail sentence by Aug. 9.