MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

February 19, 2013

Teen could face prosecution in dog death

Threats against youth also being investigated

— A Sequoyah High School teenager may face prosecution for allegedly killing a pit bull terrier and posting a picture of the act on Facebook.

But Caisen Green may not be the only one under investigation. Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Jason Chennault said it’s not clear yet whether Green has committed a crime.

“That’s up to the district attorney,” Chennault said. “I’ll just gather the facts and let (the District 27 District Attorney’s Office) decide.”

However, various threats Green has allegedly received since the story went viral have authorities worried, and those who made the threats are being investigated as well.

“We’ve seen people say, ‘Well, I said something, but I don’t live in Oklahoma, so they can’t do anything to me,’” Chennault said. “That’s not true. If the DA’s office feels a credible threat was made, we can.”

Chennault said his office had been inundated with phone calls from across the country demanding Green’s arrest.

Facebook groups have sprouted up with the same motive, as have posts on various animal advocacy web sites.

Some posts on those sites have gone too far, Chennault said. When investigators reached Green’s home last weekend, he and his mother were gone — their address and directions to their home had appeared on some of the sites discussing the story.

“There’s not just one investigation here,” Chennault said. “It’s not just the dog getting shot. We’re going to have to weed through these posts and messages.

“There’s a possibility someone could be prosecuted for making threats, definitely. I understand people being passionate about an animal’s safety and well-being, but it can’t come at the expense of a human being.”

Green, 18, allegedly admitted to a volunteer at the Cherokee County Humane Society that he had killed the dog and posted a picture of it on Facebook with an arrow sticking out of its backside, with the message, “For all you Pit lovers out there. Here’s what happens when one shows up around my house.”

 Cruelty to animals is a felony, according to Oklahoma state law, and carries a maximum punishment of not more than five years in prison, not more than one year in the county jail, or by a fine not exceeding $500.  

District 27 District Attorney Brian Kuester said making threats toward another person, such as the ones allegedly made toward Green, would likely be a misdemeanor, carrying a term of not more than six months in the county jail and a fine of not more than $500. If a plan were put in place, or there was action taken to hurt Green, the crime would then become a felony, Kuester said.

Chennault said sheriff’s office investigators are set to meet with Green and Green’s attorney, Jim Wilcoxen, today.

“Hopefully, I’ll have my report done Wednesday,” Chennault said. “And they (the DA’s office) can make their decision.”

Wilcoxen declined to make a statement, other than to say he and his client have “our side of the story.”

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.

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