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Man Accused Of Burning Dogs Enters Plea

November 13th, 2004, 11:59 PM
GOLDEN, Colo. -- A Littleton man who pleaded not guilty to charges of stealing puppies from the Colorado Humane Society, binding them with duct tape and then setting them on fire, abruptly changed his plea Friday morning in Jefferson County District Court.

Ryan Turtura faces 10 felony counts, including theft, burglary, arson and animal cruelty.

Ryan Dean Turtura, 20, was to go on trial Monday on 10 felony counts, including theft, arson, burglary and animal cruelty. Instead, he plead guilty to to aggravated animal cruelty for stealing five puppies and burning two of them to death.

"There's somebody else involved that he's so afraid of him and his family that he's willing to take a chance and go to prison, rather than give that name up," Defense Attorney Wilfredo Rios said after the hearing.

The district attorney's office said that the investigation is still ongoing and there may be someone else that they are looking for at this time, 7NEWS reported.

District attorney's spokeswoman Pam Russell said prosecutors had a strong case but were concerned that a judge might not have allowed Turtura's statements to law enforcement officers to be used at trial.

"Any time you take a case to court you have to believe you have a substantial likelihood of conviction and weigh that against the possibility of acquittal," Russell said. "But there has to be accountability and responsibility, so we believe this was appropriate."

Authorities alleged that Turtura broke into an Englewood animal shelter in February and stole five puppies, then burned three of them. Police say Turtura initially admitted to the crimes but entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment in June.

A worker at an Arvada movie theater was taking out the trash when he found two of the dogs in a burning portable kennel. They had been bound with duct tape. Another dog was found on fire in a stairwell behind a Jefferson County gym. He said he saw a man escape carrying two other dogs.

Ashley, a puppy who survived being locked in a portable kennel, set on fire, and dumped in a trash bin, was adopted by a Denver family.

Two of the burned animals died. An injured black Labrador puppy that survived was adopted.

Police later found a drug store surveillance video showing a man purchasing duct tape and rubbing alcohol the night the dogs were killed. The video was from a Walgreens drug store near the crime scene. Officers released an enhanced copy of the video, which aired on local TV stations and then received a phone call from the mother of Turtura's girlfriend, who recognized him.

"Since my daughter is dating him, if there was a remote chance this might have been him, I wanted to make sure that all of that activity was stopped," said the mother, Rhonda Redgate.

Turtura now faces 10 years in prison and faces fines of up to $800,000. He'll be sentenced on Jan. 25.

A bail-reduction hearing was scheduled for Tuesday. Turtura has been jailed on $25,000 bail.

Turtura also pleaded guilty Friday to contributing to the delinquency of a minor in an unrelated case. Prosecutors said he provided methamphetamine to two teen girls.

Previous Stories:
March 8, 2004: Burned Puppy Adopted; Suspect Formally Charged
March 5, 2004: Accused Dog Burner Turned In By Girlfriend's Mother
March 4, 2004: Man Held On Arson, Cruelty Charges In Dog Deaths
March 3, 2004: Suspect Arrested In Dog Burnings
March 1, 2004: New Clues Found In Search For Puppy Burning Suspect
February 18, 2004: Video Of Possible Suspect In Dog Burning Released
February 17, 2004: Dog Burnings In Arvada, Jefferson County Investigated

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

November 14th, 2004, 12:02 AM
I hope he goes to jail and gets to be someones plaything and tortured endlessly..That is one of the sickest stories i have ever read........

November 14th, 2004, 12:30 AM
Arrghh @#%$^*&U^*& :mad: