Teen pleads guilty in birds’ deaths - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Teen pleads guilty in birds’ deaths

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Posted: Wednesday, June 9, 2004 11:00 am | Updated: 5:58 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

One of four teenagers arrested on suspicion of mowing down a flock of ducks and geese in Ahwatukee Foothills pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of animal cruelty in Maricopa County Juvenile Court in Mesa.

Raymond Blakeley, 17, was sentenced to probation and community service after he admitted to a judge that he was a passenger in his 1997 Chevrolet Camaro when it ran over the birds near Lakeside Boulevard and Suki Court on March 5.

Reggie Richardson, 17, was arrested on suspicion of driving the car. Ryan Johnson, 16, and Craig Knapper, 17, were also arrested in the incident.

"We left academic lab class period to get food," Blakeley explained in court. "Reggie and Ryan suggested that they wanted to try to hit a goose, but I said no."

Blakeley said they saved some tortilla chips from lunch and sprinkled them across the road.

"I got in the passenger side . . . and he hit the ducks and goose," Blakeley said. "I thought they were going to fly away. They stayed there and were killed."

A 50-yard trail of blood and feathers was left behind. Seven mallards and two geese died at the scene, Arizona Humane Society officials said. At least five injured waterfowl retreated to the lake, where they likely drowned. One duck was taken for treatment, but veterinarians had to amputate its legs, and it was euthanized.

Blakeley’s lawyer and parents said peer pressure was partly to blame.

Judge Sherry K. Stephens ordered Blakeley to complete 50 hours of community service by Sept. 1 and work in a therapeutic program designed by the Arizona Humane Society. The program requires attending eight 90-minute sessions with a therapist and working four days a month with animal emergency crews until December.

Richardson is scheduled to stand trial June 21.

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