ARDMORE, OK -- The Ardmore man accused in the dragging death of a pit bull dog was found not guilty Thursday in Carter County. Antonio Ray was arrested last March after officials say he was dragging a dog behind him while riding his bike down a residential road. Austin Wright has more.
Ray was acquitted of all charges after three hours of deliberation by the jury Thursday afternoon at the Carter County Courthouse in Ardmore. Ray was charged with felony cruelty to an animal in the dragging case that fatally wounded his pit bull last March. The violent nature in which this dog was killed had several community members hoping the court throws the book at Ray.
But instead Carter County assistant district attorney Brad Nolan says it was Ray's defense attorney's contention that he did not know he was dragging the dog--and that he thought the dog was running behind him-- that gave the jury reasonable doubt--that Ray has harmed the dog purposely.
"It's pretty unsettling. I'm pretty sure they'll work it out in there, and whatever they come up, with I'm sure it will fit the crime if he is convicted, but it's why we're here today," Detective John Randolph of the Ardmore Police Department said on Wednesday.
Authorities say Ray thought the dog was becoming more trouble than it was worth. While allegedly trying to deliver the dog to the city pound, a couple spotted Ray riding his bike down Refinery Road with the dog dragging behind.
The dog had been dragged for nearly a quarter mile, causing massive trauma to its paws and chest. Randolph says even though it happened back in spring the case still stands out.
"There was a report from neighbors that an individual was pedaling a bicycle and dragging a red pit bull behind his bicycle. The animal was actually tied off around the neck and was actually being drug by the individual."
The case has drawn national attention. We even found a petition found online with nearly 7,000 signatures requesting Ray receive the maximum sentence allowed by law, which is 5 years in state prison.
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