Kevin Ray Amos and Mary Chichester

Killing a police dog

Olympia, WA

April 4, 2000

Amos, age 41, killed Vello, a 4-year-old German shepherd with a single shotgun blast. Amos came across the dog tied helplessly at his estranged wife's remote country home. Velo had been left at the woman's home while she went out for the evening with the dog's handler, an Olympia police officer.

Velo had earned a reputation as a canine hero and was just nominated for a local hero award by the Olympia Red Cross for helping his handler Mike Hovda track down a missing Alzheimer's patient who had wandered away.

Amos had a history of harassing his estranged wife. He admitted shooting the dog and led authorities to the dumpsite in some weeds about 15 feet off a rural road.

Amos and his 42-year-old girlfriend, Mary Chichester, drove his white 4x4 pickup truck around a locked gate that stood at the entrance of a 2-mile long driveway of his estranged wife's home. Using a search warrant, the police searched the girlfriend's home and turned up illegal weapons. She has past convictions for domestic violence and is not permitted to keep guns.

Chichester was arrested in the courtroom of Amos' first court hearing. She admitted witnessing the dogs shooting, which prompted Amos to later get up in court and admit to shooting Velo. He later led the police to other canine's bodies, which probably would never have been found otherwise.

Amos has been charged with killing a police dog, a class C felony, which could mean up to five years in prison, and first-degree theft, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Further he is charged with several domestic violence offenses that could put him in jail for life. Chichester faces weapons charges.

Amos pleaded guilty in Lewis County Superior Court to harming a police dog and first-degree theft in the shooting death. He has been sentenced to 14 months in prison. Prosecutors dropped four burglary charges in a plea agreement but sought a higher sentence for killing the police dog. The standard sentence is up to 12 months.


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