HOUSTON – Ashley Nicole Richards, 22, and Brent Justice, 51, both of Houston, have been indicted for creating and distributing “animal crush videos,” United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Both have remained in state custody on related animal cruelty charges following their arrests Aug. 15, 2012. They are expected to be transferred to federal custody and make an initial appearance before a U.S. magistrate judge in the near future.
The seven-count indictment, returned just moments ago, alleges Richards and Justice created and distributed animal crush videos which were obscene in nature. The charges mention eight videos which allegedly involve puppies, chickens and kittens being tortured and killed. The indictment alleges the videos were created at varying times between February 2010 and August 2012.
The term "animal crush video" is defined under federal law as any photograph, motion-picture film, video or digital recording, or electronic image that depicts actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury, and is obscene.
If convicted of these charges, Richards and Justice face up to seven years in federal prison on each of the five animal crush charges and up to five years on each of the two obscenity charges. They also face a possible $250,000 fine on each count of conviction and at least three years of supervised release following completion of any prison term imposed.
This case was originally investigated by the Houston Police Department who are working in conjunction with the Houston office of the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sherri L. Zack.