HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Fort Campbell soldier has been convicted of torturing his wife's dog and a jury recommended he serve three years in prison.
The Christian County jury handed down the verdict Thursday in the case of 43-year-old Marc T. Staley. Prosecutors say he skinned his wife's dog after the couple got into a fight in December 2010.
Staley told jurors he choked the Jack Russell terrier named Baxter until it stopped breathing in a fit of rage after the dog bit him.
Defense attorney Jack Faust told the Kentucky New Era that he plans to appeal the conviction (http://bit.ly/zq3jyC ). Staley has spent about five months incarcerated already and could be before the parole board within weeks after serving 15 percent of the recommended sentence, or roughly five and a half months.
Staley has worked for the U.S. Army for 19 years and was with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Bragg, N.C. before arriving at Fort Campbell.
Prosecutor Whitney Westerfield told jurors that no one but Staley knows what happened in the apartment. However, even if the dog died of suffocation instead of the deep cuts in its skin, this would still qualify as torture, Westerfield argued.
Staley looked at the judge's bench with his hands folded and his expression unchanged as the verdict was read
His wife, Ismelda Staley, now lives in Houston. She and Marc are still married, and Westerfield said he doesn't know of any plans they have for a divorce.
Ismelda was not in the courtroom when the jury returned its verdict.
Information from: Kentucky New Era, http://www.kentuckynewera.com