An­i­mal cru­elty

The Washington Post Sunday - - METRO - BY TRICIA BISHOP

Pre­trial mo­tions and jury se­lec­tion be­gin Mon­day in Bal­ti­more in the case of two men ac­cused of set­ting a pit bull puppy on fire.

The pros­e­cu­tion of Travers and Tre­mayne John­son, both charged with an­i­mal cru­elty for al­legedly dous­ing a pit bull puppy with gaso­line and set­ting it on fire in 2009, will re­sume Mon­day with pre­trial mo­tions and jury se­lec­tion.

The dog, named Phoenix by res­cue work­ers, had to be eu­th­a­nized.

The pro­ceed­ings will move to a cer­e­mo­nial court­room so Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill can as­sem­ble a larger-than-av­er­age pool of po­ten­tial ju­rors. The case has re­ceived na­tional at­ten­tion and it could be dif­fi­cult to find jury mem­bers who are not fa­mil­iar with the al­le­ga­tions against the 18-year-olds.

The trial is ex­pected to last two to six days, attorneys said.

On Fri­day, an at­tor­ney for Travers John­son, whois in cus­tody on un­re­lated at­tempted-murder charges, ar­gued that the teen’s brief state­ment to po­lice should be sup­pressed. The ar­gu­ment will con­tinue Mon­day with tes­ti­mony from a Bal­ti­more de­tec­tive.

Other de­fense pre­trial mo­tions in­volve sup­press­ing wit­ness iden­ti­fi­ca­tions, is­sues with city sur­veil­lance videos, a wit­ness who has expressed an in­tent to re­cant, and whether the pros­e­cu­tion can in­clude ref­er­ences to the teens’ tat­toos and al­leged gang in­volve­ment.

Dur­ing a hear­ing in Oc­to­ber 2009, As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Jen­nifer Rallo out­lined plans to present ex­pert tes­ti­mony about the broth­ers’ “af­fil­i­a­tion with a gang.”

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