Michael Andrew Sutton pleaded guilty to throwing a 3-month-old puppy out of a sixth story window, then stashing its body in a trash compactor. He was convicted of the shockingly cruel crime and sentenced on Monday to the most jail time that the judge was legally allowed to issue.
According to the News Herald, the 23-year-old Ohio man earned no sympathy from Judge Michael Cicconetti, who told the puppy killer outright that he would have preferred to throw the man into the garbage.
“Would I like to put you in the Dumpster? Yeah, I’d love to do that! But the only thing I can do is max you.”
Unfortunately for Cicconetti, the max sentence for Michael Andrew Sutton could not exceed 180 days in jail, arguably a small punishment for taking the life of a a defenseless baby animal. But during the Painesville Municipal court hearing, the Ohio judge made sure Sutton understood the nature of his actions and accepted no excuses for his behavior.
“I am sick and tired of people blaming this on mental illness,” Cicconetti said. “I’d like to give you one of those creative sentences. But that’s for first-time offenders. You were just brutal and savage.”
Michael Andrew Sutton was defended by Assistant Lake County Public Defender Joseph Medici, who tried to argue that Sutton’s actions were a result of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. An inability to afford medication for the mental illness supposedly provoked him to kill the puppy.
“He has not been on his meds since November of last year,” Medici argued.
He also claimed Michael Andrew Sutton was denied government assistance due to a previous conviction for domestic violence and child endangerment.
But Judge Cicconetti only used these points against the puppy killer, arguing that these previous violent outbursts prove the man was fully responsible for his actions even when he could afford medication. The judge knew from official records that Michael Andrew Sutton was collecting $700 every month for his disability, which evidently was not enough to subdue his cruel tendencies.
“When you broke your mother’s ribs, were you on medication then? How about when [you assaulted] the mother of your child while she was holding your baby? Were you on medication then? We the taxpayers paid you $700 a month because you were on disability. That’s not mental illness! You are revolting, and you are inhuman.”
Sutton didn’t disagree with the judge’s relentless reprimanding, admitting that he knew his actions were “sick.”
His explanation for why he killed the puppy was not sufficient to the judge. The 3-month-old pitbull/lab mix was reportedly Sutton’s pet dog named Nox. The puppy reportedly urinated on a bed, which made Michael Andrew Sutton so angry that he tossed the animal out of the window.
According to the Huffington Post, along with the maximum sentence for killing the puppy, Michael Andrew Sutton will be forbidden to own any animals and will be forced to undergo a psychological evaluation. He will also remain on probation for five years after his 180-day sentence is served. Judge Cicconetti regretted the fact that the law does no allow him to put Sutton behind bars any longer, especially since he suspects the puppy killer will continue to commit crimes after his release.
Painesville man pleads guilty to throwing dog out of sixth-floor window: Michael Andrew Sutton, who admitted to… https://t.co/SEkDw0ujMa
— Lake County News (@lakecounty_news) May 9, 2016
The judge is not alone in his belief that the punishments for animal cruelty are too lenient. A group of protesters gathered outside the court during the hearing, demanding harsher sentences for crimes like killing a puppy. Their signs read “Make Laws Tougher, So Animals Don’t Suffer,” “Justice for Nox,” and “Punish Animal Abusers.”
Thanks to Mike Smeck and Nitro’s Ohio Army! This dedicated group rallied for justice for Nox, the poor puppy who… https://t.co/5SsTSuoQHL
— Beth Sheehan (@goldenre) May 16, 2016
Judge Cicconetti is well known for his creative punishments. And even though he couldn’t legally issue one to Michael Andrew Sutton, he has a list of interesting sentences he’s doled out in the past, including ordering a woman to be pepper-sprayed in court.
How would you punish Michael Andrew Sutton for killing the innocent puppy?
[Photo via the Lake County Jail]