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5 years for cruelty to livestock animal

IMGA0001Monday morning the trial of Marc Saunders commenced with jury selection under the watchful eye of Judge Suzanne Stovall who was filling in for Judge Mates.

After jury selection Prosecutor Rob Freyer brought several witnesses to the stand to describe the evening in October of 2012 when the incident occurred.

Testimony showed that the donkey, now named “Suzy Q” escaped from its home on Ranch Estates. Saunders went out searching for it and found the donkey tied up to a post on  Acorn Hill. With the help of a friend Saunders tied the donkey to the back of his Chevrolet Blazer and started slowly down the roadway. The donkey, being stubborn as they are locked its rear legs and tried to sit down.

With a friend sitting on the tailgate and Saunders in the drivers seat he sped up to between twenty and thirty mile per hour. Eventually the hooves wore to the bone and started to bleed but Saunders continued. The donkey finally laid down and when it did Saunders did not stop but kept dragging the donkey down the street.

When he finally realized what had happened he unhooked the donkey from his truck and fled the scene. A veterinarian just happened to drive up on the donkey and treated it, It was doubtful that it would make it but now after fifteen months Susie Q has made a complete recovery.

The night of the incident Montgomery County Precinct 4 Deputy Constable Dwayne Morrow arrested Saunders, who was on probation for a drug charge, and booked him into the Montgomery County Jail. The next morning he tested positive for meth in his system.

Also called to the stand  Saunders former wife and mother to his three children she told the jury of the beatings she received from Saunders over the ten years that they were together, She also described his use as a meth addict and his affiliation with the Arian Brotherhood Prison Gang.

Defense Attorney Joe LaBella tried to paint it as an accident, at one point he attempted to get a plea on a lesser charge but was told by Freyer that District Attorney Brett Ligon and himself were both opposed to that.

The defense attorney also commented to the jury that Montgomery County Juries are the toughest so he knew they would find Saunders guilty.

The jury spent just over two hours to convict Saunders. They also added the vehicle as a deadly weapon. By doing this , it moved the charge from a maximum two year State Jail Felony to a Third Degree Felony which was punishable by two to ten years in prison. Also by the finding of the deadly weapon, Saunders would have to serve at least one-half his time.

On Wednesday the jury returned for the punishment phase.

Prosecutor Rob Freyer introduced two Montgomery County Jail Deputies who described Saunders as the person who assaulted another inmate. With the help of two others they blackened the inmates eye and split his lip. They also told of policy offenses  by possessing “Hooch”. He explained the inmates made this using fruit, bread and sugar they are able to obtain. He also was in possession of makeshift needles for tattooing.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department SIU Investigator Likens told of a 2007 drug bust in the Grangerland area where he arrested Saunders.

Just before 2 pm the jury returned with a five year sentence.

Saunders still faces a possible ten years if Judge Stovall revokes his probation on his prior drug charge.

With Prosecutor Rob Fryers pushing of the finding of the vehicle being a deadly weapon in an cruelty to livestock animal, it is believed to be the first time in the State of Texas a person has been sentenced to more than two years on that charge.



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