Illinois Man Who Shot Dog Convicted of Aggravated Animal Cruelty

 |  Nov 13th 2006  |   3 Contributions

This article was in the Chicago Tribune.

Man guilty of shooting neighbor's dog

By Amanda Marrazzo
Special to the Tribune

A McHenry County man accused of shooting to death his neighbor's dog with a semiautomatic rifle was convicted Friday on a felony charge of aggravated animal cruelty.

After two days of testimony in McHenry County Circuit Court, jurors deliberated about 2 hours before convicting Lawrence Preston, 50, who testified that was protecting himself against Mourgio, a 96-pound Anatolian shepherd.

One juror said afterwards that Preston gave conflicting accounts of what happened outside his home on the morning of May 5, 2005, and that the evidence suggested the dog was not charging when it was shot.

"The way the bullets came in from his tail to his nose, in my experience as a hunter, says the dog was shot from behind," said juror Jake Weygand of Crystal Lake. "Bullets don't lie."

Preston's sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 22.

Preston, a mechanic who was training to be a deputy with the Lake County sheriff's police, said Mourgio had growled at him when he went out to get his newspaper in the back yard of his home on Island Road in unincorporated McHenry County. He said he went inside, called to the dog's owner, and then went back outside armed with a semiautomatic rife.

Prosecutors argued that Preston shot the dog execution style as part of an ongoing dispute with neighbor Charles Kostomiris, 80, Mourgio's owner. Preston and other neighbors had opposed plans by Kostomiris to build a house on the 20 acres he has owned since 1993.

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