The man who shot six pets to death in front of children was ordered to spend nearly nine months in jail and do 100 hours of community service, preferably with animals.
34-year-old Raymond Knez of Chippewa County had pleaded no contest to causing mental harm to a child. His girlfriend, 30-year-old Chrystalyn Adcock, was sentenced to 50 hours of community service.
Court records show that Knez was drinking before he got a gun and started shooting at pets in the house. He ended up shooting four cats and two dogs. Investigators say the children saw it happen, then one of them was told to clean up the mess afterwards. Adcock was in the house at the time.
We talked to Adcock and Knez on the phone Thursday morning. They both say they're very sorry this happened. They call it a stupid drunken reaction they made instead of making a good decision. They also say they have no excuse, and want to apologize to their families, their community, and animal lovers for what they did. They say they're now in Alcoholics Anonymous classes, as well parenting and domestic violence classes.
STORY FROM 3/17/09
A prosecutor says he's received thousands of letters from all over the country about the case of a man accused of killing a half dozen pets in front of his kids.
Chippewa County District Attorney, Jon Theisen, says the story was in the National Enquirer. He adds that people on the Humane Society of the United States' email list are contacting him as well. The e-mails ask Theisen to add more charges or increase the current misdemeanor mistreatment of animal charges to felonies. Theisen says he won't add new charges or upgrade the current ones. Knez does face four other felony counts in the case.
In court Tuesday morning, attorneys agreed to delay the proceedings so his are in line with Crystalyn Adcock's. She is Knez's live-in girlfriend who is also charged in the case.
Officers say Knez admitted to drinking between 26 and 29 cans of beer in 11 hours. Then, they say he shot four cats and two dogs while the children were watching at his home near Boyd on January 28. Knez says he never meant to harm the children.
STORY FROM 2/3/09
The man accused of shooting six pets in front of six children appeared in court today, and more charges are filed in connection with the case.
Knez and his attorney refused to comment on camera today. We did speak to Chippewa County District Attorney Jon Theisen, who says the court is pushing for a quick investigation because they fear Knez is a danger to the children.
"It's intoxicated ignorance, to an excessive degree. It's an embarrassment to the community,” says Theisen.
Theisen says the investigation into what happened on January 28th at Raymond Knez, Jr.’s home in Boyd continues.
“The guy willingly admits he consumed anywhere from 25 to 30 cans of beer with in a 12 hour period he fired of at least 6 rounds with a deer rifle, five of which were shot inside the residence. He killed or disposed of 5 or 6 family pets and he did it all, most of it, in the presence of his children,” says Theisen.
One count of felony mental harm to a child is filed against Knez's live-in girlfriend, Crystalyn Adcock. She's accused of making one of the girls help clean up the dead animals. She could face up to 12 and one half years in prison and more than 25 thousand dollars in fines.
"We were going to look for help from Ms. Adcock, who was not the shooter, in case Mr. Knez gave us any kind of trouble. He's going to be the primary focus of the prosecution,” says Theisen.
Knez appeared in court today, responding briefly while the judge asked him whether he understood the charges. Knez refused to comment, but his defense attorney Kate Haefner says he never meant to harm the children, and that they are "dealing with the situation as best they can."
Though Knez is out on bond, he is ordered to stay away from the children and Adcock. His next court appearance is set for March. If convicted of the charges, he faces nearly 50 years in prison.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009 Early Update:
A man and his live-in girlfriend are now formally charged after he executed 6 family pets inside a mobile home while 6 children were present.
Jon Theisen, Chippewa County District Attorney, has charged 33-year-old Raymond Knez Jr. with felony first degree reckless endangerment, three felony counts of mental harm to a child, misdemeanor possession of a firearm while intoxicated, and three misdemeanor counts of mistreating animals. The charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 53 years and 3 months in prison.
Theisen tells WEAU 13 News he is also charging 30-year-old Chrystalyn Adcock with one felony count of mental harm to a child. Theisen says he's charging Adcock because she made one of the kids clean up the dead pets. Adcock faces 12 years and 6 months in prison.
According to the criminal complaint, Knez rounded up 2 dogs and 4 cats and shot them. One of the dogs and all four cats were shot inside the family’s mobile home and 6 children were in the house when it happened. The complaint shows one of the children believed another cat survived the shooting and was injured and alive inside the home.
Investigators say Knez told them he used a .280 scoped rifle to kill the animals. Knez told deputies a dog was killed in a fight with another dog last Tuesday. His girlfriend of 8 years, Chrystalyn Adcock, was extremely upset so he told her he would take the dogs to a pound or the vet or shoot them.
The complaint says Knez then told investigators he spent the next 11 hours drinking 26 to 29 cans of beer. He also went to a bar in Stanley in the middle of his drinking spree and talked about killing the animals there. Investigators say Knez left the bar thinking he could legally shoot the family dogs.
Around 5:30 a.m. last Wednesday (January 28), Knez loaded the rifle, went outside, and shot a black dog. The then carried that dog’s body back inside and showed it to Adcock. The complaint says Knez then decided to kill the rest of the pets. He found one of the kids’ dogs, stepped on it in the hallway, and shot it. Investigators say he then hunted through the mobile home for the reset of the pets and made one of the kids help him catch the cats.
Knez told investigators he shot one of the cats by stepping on it and pinning it to the floor. He killed another by holding it in his left hand, extending his arm, and shooting it with the gun in his right hand. Knez told deputies his hand still hurt from the impact of that shot.
The complaint says one of the children was upset and wanted to stay home from school. Adcock allowed the 11-year-old girl to stay home but made her clean up the dead animals while she went out to buy more beer. Another child in the home was told not to say anything at school.
Knez will be in court Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. for his initial appearance. Watch WEAU 13 News at 5 and 6 for updates to this developing story.
Knez was first in Chippewa County court Thursday morning. The judge set his bail at $1,000 and ordered Knez have no contact with the 6 kids. Knez posted his bail on Thursday afternoon and was released from jail. He was arrested Wednesday on 5 counts of mistreating animals, recklessly endangering safety, endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon and causing mental harm to a child.
Deputies got a phone call early Wednesday morning that something was wrong at family’s home south of Boyd on County Highway ‘D.’
Knez and Chrystalyn Adcock have been together for 8 years. She says Knez was upset that his parents’ dog killed her dog on Tuesday. She didn't want to go on camera but says they had at least 12 beers each before going to a bar in Stanley late Tuesday night.
Sometime after the kids started getting up for school Wednesday morning, she says Knez shot 4 cats and 2 dogs. Deputies say Knez rounded up the 6 animals and killed them execution-style, in front of his kids. They say this is one of the worst cases of animal abuse they can remember.
"The manner that he was holding some of the animals as well as him pursuing them in different areas of the house and cornering them and then discharging the firearm," says Capt. Eugene Gutsch, with the Chippewa Co. Sheriff’s Dept. "The children, a total of 6, were present in the residence when this was occurring."
Adcock says the kids, all between 10 and 14 years old, were scared and crying but Knez just lost it. She says he isn’t a bad guy and told the kids not to say anything at school so he wouldn't get in trouble. One of the children, an 11-year-old girl, stayed home and the first deputy on-scene found her home alone.
"One of the reasons the girl did stay home was to clean up the mess,” Gutsch says. “There is an indication that there were dead animals in the residence. There was blood and things in the residence.”
The deputy found Knez on the property and arrested him. Investigators saw blood outside and took 3 guns from the mobile home, including a .280 caliber rifle used in the killings. Gutsch says officers were very worried for the children's safety.
"Exposing them to that chaotic environment of a firearm being discharged in the residence and their pets being killed before them," he says.
Gutsch says the Dept. of Human Services immediately put all 6 kids in protective custody. He also says deputies have been out to the Knez home in the past for child welfare calls but never found anything this serious.