Abernathy, age 40, was arrested on February 6th,
2002 after police searched his home and found his pet German shepherd
dead. A 15-inch wooden stake had been put through the dog's heart and his
head had been severed. Police found the torso in a bedroom closet and the
dogs' head wrapped in a towel in the garage.
Abernathy was held on $10,000 bail in the medical/psychiatric
ward of the Orange County jail until his arraignment.
Abernathy killed and mutilated his dog to impress his
girlfriend. He could face life in prison under the state's 3-strike law. Abernathy has twice been convicted of aggravated assault.
found a collection of swords and knives in Abernathy's
home. It is believed these weapons were used to decapitate the dog-named Marie. Police found pruning shears near the dog's
torso when they investigated.
neighbor called the police after Abernathy walked over to his neighbor's house and said
he needed psychiatric help. Abernathy admitted to police he killed the dog after
having an argument with his girlfriend.
George Abernathy, his father, said his son was trying to impress
his new girlfriend by killing the dog. He was trying to prove to this girlfriend
that he loved her so much he could kill his dog for her.
family members said Abernathy has shown violent behavior before, including
pointing a gun at his sister's head. Abernathy's father stated “He loved this dog, and "if putting him in prison for 25 years to life
is going to prevent him from hurting some innocent person, that's OK with
members stated after his 2002 arrest that he had been in and out of jail much
of his life. He collected guns, swords, knives and other weapons.
After being discharged from the US Army, Abernathy
earned a certificate as a physical trainer but did not pursue a career in
stated Abernathy once forced his sister to play Russian roulette.
He stabbed 2 men in separate incidences in 1986. In 1998 police had
stopped him in his car with a samurai sword that he planned to use on his
ex-wife’s new husband.
Abernathy’s sister stated that as a teenager he beheaded
a pet boa constrictor to scare her and filled the family refrigerator with
the bodies of skinned animals to scare their stepmother.
Abernathy was taken to a psychiatric hospital for observation
and later transferred to jail.
A sanity hearing is scheduled
for 6/7/04 for Abernathy. Abernathy claims he was insane when he attacked his
District Attorney Heather Brown said anger, not insanity, drove Abernathy to beat his dog with a golf club, shove a
stake through her heart and then decapitate her with pruning shears.
Superior Court Judge Kazuharu Makino found Abernathy was sane when he killed his dog. Judge Makino convicted Abernathy on felony animal cruelty charges after a
2-hour non-jury trial.
District Attorney Heather Brown said Abernathy was diagnosed as a paranoid-schizophrenic
when he was in the military. Abernathy
has claimed to be crazy to avoid prosecution after being caught trying to
blow up his sergeant in a dispute over a girl while in the military.
Abernathy’s relatives testified he killed animals when
he was younger and put them in the refrigerator for his stepmother to find.
Abernathy was sentenced to 25 years to life under the
state’s 3-strikes law. He was convicted in June of felony animal cruelty for killing the
Abernathy would have faced a maximum of 6 years if
not for 2 prior convictions in 1986 for assault with a deadly weapon.
lawyer William Morrissey claimed Abernathy suffered from schizophrenia and psychotic
delusions. The judge, however, ruled he was sane at the time of the
Abernathy must serve at least 20 years before he becomes
eligible for parole according to Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown.
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