WASHINGTON – One of two men charged with a heinous attack on a bull terrier is out of jail on his own recognizance after appearing in court Tuesday in D.C.
Christopher Johnson, 28, is charged with felony animal cruelty after investigators say he, along with 38-year-old Mark Mosley, stabbed the dog three times in the neck behind a building on the 600 block of 46th Place SE in D.C.
The abuse came after an illegal dog-fighting match, according to the Washington Humane Society.
The bull terrier survived and was named McFly by those who nursed him back to health.
A key witness in the case claims the two men carried McFly behind the building then heard the dog “yelping” and “whining” as the men attacked it. Johnson’s attorney, Joseph Molina, argued that the witness never actually saw Johnson stab the dog, and that the witness identified Mosley as the man who re-appeared in front of the building with a knife in his hands.
Molina also questioned several aspects of the investigation, including how the witness was asked to identify Johnson. Washington Animal Control Officer Daniel D’Eramo confirming on the stand that the witness was only shown one picture of Johnson, and not an array of photos of possible suspects.
Tuesday’s hearing was to decide if Johnson should be released from jail. Johnson was on parole from an earlier dog fighting conviction and was arrested after being charged in this case. A condition of his parole is that he can’t have a dog, and his attorney argued there’s no evidence that he does.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian Natiello wanted Johnson to remain behind bars, but Superior Court Magistrate Judge Frederick J. Sullivan released Johnson. Judge Sullivan said he had to keep people and animals in the right perspective.
As for the other suspect in the case, Mark Mosley’s initial hearing is rescheduled for Dec. 17.
Johnson’s case now goes to a grand jury.
Anyone interested in adopting McFly can find more information at www.btrva.org.