Man not guilty in deaths of 2 pugs
Jurors spent about an hour deliberating Wednesday afternoon before ruling a Hammond man was not guilty on two felony counts of killing a domestic animal in the deaths of two pugs killed in Porter Township earlier this year.
The trial of Anthony Priestas, 24, of the 600 block of Locust Street, was held this week before Porter Superior Court Judge David Chidester.
A court official said Priestas remains in the Porter County Jail and has a change-of-plea hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Dec. 6 before Chidester in two additional, unrelated cases.
When Priestas was arrested March 6 on charges of killing the dogs, he was out on bond from a May 2017 misdemeanor charge of domestic battery involving a girlfriend in Boone Grove, and a July 2017 felony charge of breaking and entering a Valparaiso residence, according to court records.
He also faces felony charges of burglary, residential entry and theft in Lake Superior Court in the case involving the pugs.
Andy Kyres, Priestas’ attorney, had argued that Priestas had an alibi and was with his grandmother’s fiance during the alleged crime.
During testimony Monday in the three-day trial, William and Claudia Tay- lor, who purchased the pugs, Marley and Mugsy, as Christmas gifts for their children and whose daughter Brandy Ortiz briefly dated Priestas, fought back tears as they viewed pictures of the dogs.
Amy Lavalley is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.