Thursday, December 18, 2008

Coatesville man faces animal cruelty, drug and weapons charges

A Coatesville man arrested after police found a mutilated pit bull in his dining room during a drug raid told police he had killed and dismembered two dogs, a detective testified yesterday.
The testimony came during a 21/2-hour preliminary hearing for LaQuanta Chapman, 29, who was held for trial on all charges. His codefendant, Bryan Byrd, 19, of Newark, N.J., waived his hearing.

Both men will face trial on conspiracy, drug, and weapons offenses. Chapman also faces charges related to abusing and killing animals.

Coatesville Detective Sgt. Chris McEvoy said that when police executed a search warrant on Nov. 15 at Chapman's Chester Avenue home illicit drugs "were pretty much in every room" and Chapman was carrying two loaded guns and wearing body armor.

"What we have in this case is a house of crime: a house full of drugs, a house full of guns," said First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Carmody.

McEvoy testified that Chapman told him he killed the first dog because of "poor performance" in the dogfights he held in his garage, and the second slaying occurred because the dog had smothered some of its own puppies.

Defense attorney Christian J. Hoey said his client's description of clubbing, chainsawing, and shooting a dog highlighted his mental impairment. After the hearing, Hoey said he would seek to have Chapman committed to Norristown State Hospital.

"There's no evidence at all that shows any mental illness that would excuse him from culpability for these crimes," Carmody said, adding that Chapman was evaluated at Chester County prison.

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