LAS VEGAS — On Dec. 5, Jeremy Espiritu, 22, killed the family dog, a black lab mix named Serenity simply because he wanted to.
The dog was not a threat to him and he readily admitted that the gentle lab did not provoke him. In his own words to police, he said,
I just wanted to stab the dog so I sat on the floor and cut its neck.Jobs from Indeed
He said he liked to hurt animals.
His parents have said the same things that many other parents are inclined to say when their children engage in horrific acts. They were concerned that he suffered from mental health issues and that he also abused drugs.
What became of that concern? Was he evaluated? Committed? Treated?
They likely knew their possibly mentally ill, drug abusing offspring spoke about wanting to hurt animals, however, when Espiritu did make an appearance at home, because they say he was basically homeless, he was able to have complete unfettered access to the family home, including access to Serenity.
When his stepfather awoke that morning in early December to a chilling blood-curling scream and found his dog half dead in a puddle of blood because his son cut the dogs throat, authorities were contacted.
Serenity died and Espiritu was arrested.
And then the legal maneuverings began. Was he competent?
According to the court evaluation, he was.
Should someone who is competent yet clearly suffering from some type of severe defect, either drug induced or not, be made to pay for a horrendous criminal act they commit? Should anyone, sane or not, who tortures an animal face any criminal consequences?
If you live in Nevada the answer appears to be that you will treated with extreme leniency. Like these cases,
Following the lead of numerous other extreme animal cruelty and abuse cases, Espiritu was offered a deal.
In his case, instead of being sentenced under the strict provisions of the Cooney’s Law which calls for a substantial prison sentence and may have afforded Jeremy Espiritu the opportunity to receive treatment for his possible mental health and drug issues, Espiritu was able to cut a deal.
His original felony charges related to the killing, maiming, disfiguring or poisoning of animal have been reduced to a charge of attempting to kill an animal. (Remember Serenity is dead)
When he is sentenced on March 5, the judge has the option of sentencing Jeremy Espiritu to probation or he could receive up to four years in prison.