Judge sets dog death trial, upbraids spectators

JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (AP) -- A judge in Jonesborough has set a trial date for a man charged in the killing of his family's dog.

Washington County Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp also told animal rights activists in his courtroom that they offended him.

The Johnson City Press reported Cupp set a bench trial for 22-year-old Dustin Ricky Harrell for May 30 on a charge of aggravated animal cruelty. Harrell is charged with injuring a four-pound Yorkshire terrier named Honey for four hours in November until she died. Investigators said the dog was thrown down stairs, shoved underwater and put in a clothes dryer for four minutes, finally dying in Harrell's arms.

Cupp ordered three women wearing "Justice for Honey" T-shirts to stand and told them the shirts offended him and ordered them to not wear the shirts in court again.

Defense attorney Jim Bowman told Cupp his client has undergone drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation since the incident.

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