An Olympia, Washington, man was jailed on $50,000 bail for allegedly raping and killing a 3-year-old pit bull therapy dog.
James Leroy Evans was charged with first-degree animal cruelty in the killing of the dog, named Diamond. Police said that Evans told them he killed the dog because it killed his pet iguana.
Diamond was an emotional support service dog for an 8-year-old boy, KCPQ reported. She was staying with Evans temporarily, as he was a relative of the dog’s owner. Evans reportedly offered to watch the dog while her owner looked for permanent housing that permitted animals.
Diamond was reportedly found by a mountain biker hanging from a tree branch. It was later found that Diamond had been aggressively sexually assaulted. The official cause of death was asphyxiation.
“What I know from family members is that he's got an explosive personality. He's got some real anger issues,” animal control officer Erika Johnson said. Johnson initially named the dog Justice after the body was found, though her real name was later determined as the investigation progressed. Johnson said she believes Evans “felt like he was doing the right thing” by putting the dog down.
Court records indicate Evans “seemed pleased with himself” that he had killed Diamond.
“This investigation was handled extremely well and because of that a suspect is now in custody,” Pasado’s Safe Haven’s lead investigator said in a statement on the Thurston County Animal Services website.
“What this man allegedly did to Diamond is unspeakable; she suffered tremendously before she died. This person is a danger to animals and people. This will forever be a case that is burned into my mind and my heart. Diamond will never be forgotten, and she will continue to drive me to pursue the monsters who abuse and neglect animals.”
Evans’ criminal record includes felony charges of domestic violence and burglary, as well as controlled substance charges.
Evans was identified after Washington’s Most Wanted Viewers submitted tips regarding the case. He is scheduled to appear in court April 26.