Who, age What Where When Last known address
Lawrence McNairy, 28 struck, killed rat terrier in the head with a golf club

Belleville, IL

St. Clair County

August 17, 2004  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date
  Shooting a woman 1 rat terrier Convicted  

A Belleville man was charged with animal torture, animal cruelty and criminal damage to property after police said he killed a neighbor's miniature rat terrier with a golf club.

Lawrence McNairy , 28, of 971 Belle Valley Drive, Apt. A in Belleville, was charged and was being held at the Belleville Jail. He is expected to be transferred to the St. Clair County Jail today unless he posts bond on bail set at $60,000.

Witnesses told police McNairy used a golf club to beat Jimmie Smith's 7-pound miniature rat terrier to death.

Witnesses said McNairy used the golf club to hit the neighbor's car, causing more than $400 worth of damage. The charge of criminal damage to property resulted from McNairy hitting the car, Belleville Police Chief Terry Delaney said.

Smith got involved in the argument, returned to his apartment and McNairy came to his door. When Smith answered the door, McNairy swung the golf club and hit his dog, Dooby.  "He killed my best friend. I always had that dog with me. And, everybody in the neighborhood liked Dooby," Smith said.

Update 8/21/04:  The attorney for a man charged with killing his neighbor's miniature rat terrier with a golf club said his client helps stray animals and would not intentionally hurt one.

Belleville Attorney Cory Easton is representing McNairy. He said he plans to file for a bond reduction for McNairy. Easton said McNairy "was being attacked by a group of men and was trying to defend himself."

"The police were called for that reason. And while he was defending himself, the dog was killed. There's no way he intended to do that," Easton said.

"He actually helps dogs and cats. He's taken a few of them off the street and placed them with his sister. His girlfriend has a similar dog as Dooby and she said he's been great with that dog," Easton said.

McNairy's mother, Grace Holbrook, said she was shocked to hear her son was locked up and charged with animal cruelty and animal torture. He also faces a criminal damage charge for hitting a car with the golf club, police said.  "Lawrence is a smooth, quiet person," Holbrook said. "He's not very rowdy. I am not saying he is a perfect person, but he's a good kid. He loves animals.  "He was a good student in school. He's a church-going guy, and an ordained minister," she said.  Holbrook said she is still "upset and depressed and waiting for my son to walk out of there."

McNairy's girlfriend, Sandra White, said she dropped McNairy off an hour before the fight.  "He had just left a friend's house and was riding his bicycle around the neighborhood. The police were called on his behalf and he was the only one to get locked up. The lady who called the police for him was screaming and telling them to come. They came there and only locked him up.... They let the others go," she said.

Police and witnesses said McNairy was continuing a fight with a neighbor from two weeks ago and hit the car.  Smith got involved, then left and his dog was killed after McNairy came to Smith's apartment.

Update 10/5/04:  McNairy will spend two years on probation.  McNairy pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and criminal damage to property and was sentenced to two years of probation, with the first year to be intensive probation with strict curfew and reporting requirements.

If he doesn't comply with the terms, he must serve six months in the St. Clair County Jail.

On Aug. 17, McNairy argued with Danielle Scharf and Gary Walthes. Prosecutor Jim Piper said McNairy grabbed a golf club from a small child and struck Scharf's 2001 Ford Focus while Scharf and Walthes were inside.

Scharf ran and knocked on Jimmie Smith's apartment at 1009 Belle Valley Drive and Smith's dog, a miniature rat terrier named Dooby, charged out the door, Piper said.  "He then struck the dog in the head, lifting the dog 10 feet into the air," Piper said.  Dooby died from blunt trauma to the head.

Smith went into his apartment, retrieved a baseball bat and after McNairy came at him with the golf club, Piper said Smith struck McNairy in the left arm. McNairy fled.  McNairy suffered a broken arm.

With his arm bandaged from fingers to above the elbow, McNairy repeatedly wiped his eyes during his hearing.  Answering in brief one or two word answers, McNairy did not give a statement during the sentencing.

As part of the plea agreement, McNairy agreed to pay Scharf $750 for damage to her car and Smith $400 for Dooby. He must also undergo a drug and mental health evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment.

It's the second time McNairy has escaped prison time.  In 1995, a St. Clair County jury acquitted McNairy of shooting a Summerfield woman in the head after she begged him to kill her. The woman survived but sustained brain damage from the gunshot.

Almost 10 years ago, McNairy was acquitted of shooting Carol Carney in the head after the pair was cheated out of $1,600 in a marijuana deal.  Carney begged McNairy to shoot her because she suffered from a cocaine addiction and financial problems. She opposed McNairy's prosecution.

McNairy later married Carney's daughter, Sandra White.


Belleville News-Democrat