Media General News Service
Published: October 20, 2009
A Vernon Hill man was found guilty Monday of animal cruelty after he stomped an opossum to death while on a June 20 ride-along with a Danville police officer.
Evan Bryce Schuler, 23, appealed the judge’s decision, and his case will now move to circuit court.
He appeared in Danville General District Court, where Judge M. Lee Stilwell Jr. reached his decision after hearing two police officers’ testimony.
Officer M.A. Gibbs said she and other officers had stopped at the gas pumps off Monument Street at about 6:30 a.m. Schuler was with one of the officers, J.R. McBride.
While there, Schuler got out of the cruiser and chased an opossum as it ran along a fence, Gibbs said.
“He grabbed a hold of the links of the fence and just started stomping,“ she said.
Schuler then ran back to the police cars.
“He was like, ‘I shouldn’t have done that,‘“ McBride said.
Schuler’s attorney, James Priest, said that his client was riding with McBride because he was thinking about applying for a job with the police department. But that opportunity evaporated after the animal cruelty charge. Schuler served in the military and does not have a criminal record, he added.
Priest said his client grew up on a farm, where opossums killed more than 50 of his chickens. Schuler acted on “strict, basic instinct,“ Priest said.
Robert Adams Jr., senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney, said that opossums and other animals act on instinct as well.
“Hopefully, what differentiates us, is that we don’t just act on instinct,“ Adams said.
Click to view image: '98c21e1a9845-opossum1.jpg'
Tags: opossum, stomp, animal cruelty, police ride-along, dickhead wannabe cop
Location: Vernon Hill, Virginia, United States (load item map)
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