Two men will be sentenced in February for killing former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s service dog.
One entered a guilty plea to the charges this week, and a second was found guilty yesterday by a jury in Walker County, Texas, according to the Huntsville Item.
Luttrell took the stand Thursday, with his new service dog, Rigby, at his side. He testified he was so angry the night his dog, DASY, was killed by gunfire from a passing car that, while chasing the car down, he pulled his pistol.
“I wanted to take a shot at the driver, but I figured if I missed and shot out the back window, I would not be able to catch them,” Luttrell said.
DASY — an acronym for Luttrell’s fellow Navy SEALs that were slain in the line of duty — was shot on April 1, 2009. A Labrador retriever, she was given to him by friends to help him cope with emotional and physical injuries sustained in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Luttrell was the lone survivor of a 2005 mission in which his SEAL team was pinned down in a firefight with Taliban forces in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Navy Cross for combat heroism in 2006.
He testified in court Tursday that he let DASY out and was watching television when he heard a gunshot and, grabbing his gun, went to see what had happened.
“I saw my dog in a ditch and two men standing outside the car. I could hear them laughing,” said Luttrell who would go on to chase the car through Walker, San Jacinto and Polk counties before a patrol officer with the Onalaska Police Department pulled it over.
According to testimony in the case, one occupant of the car, after the dog was shot, got out and kicked and beat the animal with a bat.
“(Alfonso Hernandez) got out and kicked and beat that dog and thought it was funny. They thought it was just another dog,” Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Stroud during closing arguments. “To Marcus Luttrell it was so much more. It was a symbol he carried around for what happened to him. He was reminded of the people it was named after. To Marcus Luttrell that was just not another dog.”
Alfonso Hernandez was found guilty of cruelty to non-livestock animals, which carries a sentence of up to two years in a state facility and a $10,000 fine.
Two days earlier, Michael Edmonds pleaded guilty to the same charge and admitted he was the one who fired the shot that killed DASY.
Sentencing is expected to take place in February.