Thursday, November 20, 2008

Drug raid also yields mutilated do

A weekend drug raid at a house in Coatesville turned grisly when detectives found the remains of a mutilated pit bull stuffed in a trash bag in the middle of the dining room.

LaQuanta Chapman, 29, allegedly told police that he had beaten the dog with a blunt object and cut off one of its legs, then, after it was dead, he and several others shot it multiple times with a .22-caliber gun.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Chapman said he then had cut the dog up with a chainsaw and put the remains in the trash bag.

He and Bryan Byrd, 19, of Newark, N.J., were arrested Saturday and charged with drug and weapons offenses along with killing and maiming a domestic animal.

A preliminary hearing scheduled for yesterday before Magisterial District Judge Robert L. Davis Jr. was postponed until Dec. 3 because defense lawyers were not available, Davis said.

But since both defendants were present, he said, he raised their bail from the $5,000 set by Magisterial District Judge Jeremy Blackburn on Saturday to $100,000 and ordered them sent to Chester County prison.

But outside court, Davis said, Chapman sat on a sidewalk, told officials he was in pain, and was taken to Brandywine Hospital for evaluation. Byrd was temporarily held at the Coatesville jail, Davis said.

The judge said he was "frightened" that Chapman apparently waived his Miranda rights and told police that he had killed and mutilated the dog. He said Chapman seemed to think such behavior was acceptable.

According to court records, Chapman has a long history of drug and weapons offenses. As a convicted felon, he is not allowed to own or possess firearms.

According to the affidavit, when police executed a search warrant Saturday at Chapman's residence on the first block of Chester Avenue, he was wearing a bulletproof vest and sitting on two loaded handguns.

In the same room they found two large bags, each containing "a substantial amount" of marijuana, according to the affidavit. A scale, other drug paraphernalia, and additional firearms were also in the house, police said.

The affidavit stated that Chapman also had told police that earlier in the week he killed another dog with a shovel and put it out in the garbage to be picked up by trash collectors.

Chuck McDevitt, a spokesman for the Chester County SPCA, said yesterday that humane-society officers had in the past found remains of mutilated animals that were used in fights or for religious purposes.

"What's unusual about this case is that one man admitted to it," he said.

SPCA officer Cheryl Shaw removed the remains of the dog, which she identified as a pit bull, and they are being examined for forensic evidence, McDevitt said. Shaw is expected to testify at the Dec. 3 hearing, he said.

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