Convicted dog killer arrested on aggravated assault of girlfriend

Becky Campbell • Jun 24, 2019 at 8:32 PM

A Johnson City man with a previous conviction for killing a family pet was arrested Sunday after police responded to a domestic assault call concerning his girlfriend.

Dustin Ricky Harrell, 29, 3211 Mayfield Drive, Apt. 25, was arraigned in Washington County Sessions Court on one count of aggravated domestic assault. Police arrested Harrell after responding to a call about a dispute between a boyfriend and girlfriend. The woman was cut after she got hit with an object, officers said.

When officers arrived, EMS medics were treating the woman at a mobile home next door. Officers went to Harrell’s residence, but “he advised he did not want to talk about anything because nothing had happened.”

When the officers went to talk to Harrell’s girlfriend, she was bleeding from a cut on her face. The woman told officers that she and Harrell lived together, but she had been staying at her mother’s because she and Harrell were having relationship problems.

She had returned to their mobile home to get some personal items and talk to Harrell, but that led her being assaulted, police said.

“The victim advised upon entering the residence, Harrell punched her with a closed fist multiple times in the face and head,” according to an affidavit filed in court. “She advised that Harrell then picked up a broom and began striking her multiple times with the broom .... he began kicking her .... choking (her and) telling her he was going to kill her.”

When the woman tried to leave the mobile home, she said Harrell grabbed her and wouldn’t let her go, then picked up a glass candleholder and threw it at her face, which is what cause the laceration.

Police said in addition to the laceration, the woman had red marks on her throat, allegedly from being choked.

Harrell gained public attention in 2011 after being charged with torturing and killing his family’s pet Yorkie, Honey. The case stems from from a Nov. 3, 2011, incident at his family’s Gray residence in which he tortured and comforted the four-pound dog over and over until she died. It started when Harrell threw the dog down the stairs and continued when he held her head underwater multiple times, then put her in the clothes dryer.

As the dog was spinning in the dryer for four minutes, Harrell did an Internet search for “dog in dryer,” according to testimony at a previous hearing. Then he threw the dog down on the floor, which he told investigators is when the dog’s leg broke. To aid the dog, Harrell then got an Icy Hot sleeve to put on her leg and used painter’s tape to keep her from crying.

After the dog quieted down, Harrell took the tape off and within a few minutes, Honey died in his arms. He ultimately was ordered to serve 18 months in jail on the conviction after failing to succeed on probation.

Harrell remained in jail on $20,000 bond after his arraignment Monday. His next hearing in Sessions Court is scheduled for Wednesday.

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