A Clovis High School senior’s bond was increased when he was charged with three additional felonies in magistrate court Thursday for killing his family’s cat.
After hearing testimony and finding probable cause existed to elevate the case to district court, Judge Duane Castleberry acknowledged that Jonathan Hall, while he may not have been the instigator or even the most responsible, will carry the heaviest legal burden in the case.
“It seems like there’s a lot of blame to go around, but by virtue of age, Mr. Hall is going to take the hit on this,” Castleberry said.
Police said Hall and at least three other teens took a cat from Hall’s home to Ned Houk Park, hung it from a tree by its neck and shot it multiple times, finally shooting it in the head because it cried too much.
Charged Feb. 6 with felony extreme cruelty to animals and misdemeanor counts of negligent use of a firearm and criminal damage, Hall was also charged Thursday with three felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
His bond was raised to $11,000 from a previous amount of $7,500.
The teen hung his head for most of the hearing and cried, silently wiping his eyes with his arms as his legal guardian, Brie Barth, told Castleberry she wanted him to stay in jail.
“I don’t want him bonded out because still to this day he doesn’t understand what he did was wrong,” she said.
“I know he might hate me right now, but I know he loves me… I’m worried about him.”
Barth and Clovis police Sgt. Robbie Telles testified Hall told them the story of taking the cat to the park.
Barth turned Hall, one of three teens she has legal guardianship over, in to police after she said he confessed to her he killed her cat.
Telles said during an interview, Hall told him a 17-year-old teen traded some stolen prescription drugs for a .22 caliber Remington rifle and gave Hall money to go to Wal-Mart and purchase bullets.
They then decided to take the cat and shoot it, Telles recalled on the stand, telling the court Hall wasn’t sure whose idea it was in the beginning.
Telles testified there were four teens present who have been identified by police.
Hall said one of the teens provided him with a string from his vehicle, which they used to tie up the cat, then “(Hall) got the gun and started shooting the cat,” Telles said.
Hall told police after he shot three or four times, he gave the gun to another teen, who shot it a few times until it died.
“He was very cool, calm and matter of fact about it,” Telles said of Hall’s demeanor during the police interview.
Police officer Anthony Garcia testified after he was told the story by Barth, he, Barth and other officers went to the park to look for evidence.
They found spent .22 caliber shell casings and bullet holes in a pavilion wall just beyond a tree the teens described to them, Garcia said, but never found the cat’s body.
Hall’s attorney argued that without the body of the cat and nothing but statements, there was no proof the cat was tortured or killed.
“There is no evidence that the cat was intentionally tortured, no evidence that the cat was maliciously killed,” public defender Shonn Galissini said.
Galissini also told the court the “ringleader” who obtained the gun, paid for the bullets and provided the noose was not Hall.
Prosecutors have said cases against two other teens they believe participated are being handled by Juvenile Probation and Parole, who will decide if they are forwarded to the district attorney’s office for prosecution.
The other teens have not been identified because they have not been charged.
With the addition of the three felony charges, Hall now faces more than six years imprisonment.