LAWRENCEBURG — A man who was scheduled to plead guilty Thursday to killing a puppy apparently changed his mind, and a judge set a trial date for next month.
Paul Scott "Doobie" Dearinger, 41, was set to plead guilty to a misdemeanor animal-cruelty charge in Anderson District Court after missing a previously scheduled plea date. Anderson District Judge Donna Dutton was visibly upset when Dearinger indicated that, instead, he wanted a trial date.
Dutton scheduled the trial for Jan. 17. But County Attorney Bobbi Jo Lewis later said the trial will be Jan. 18 because there is no district court scheduled for Jan. 17.
Dearinger was indicted in March on the charge.
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Witnesses told the Anderson County Sheriff's department that Dearinger stomped on the puppy's neck and threw it into a fire pit.
Marilyn Hansley, who gave the eight-month-old Australian shepherd-terrier mix to Dearinger and his girlfriend, said that when she learned what had happened to the dog, she buried it. But a deputy sheriff later exhumed the animal named Buster and took photos of it to bring the criminal case.
"He was brutally beaten," Hansley said Thursday outside the courtroom.
Justin Thomas Genco, Dearinger's new defense attorney, had no comment after the proceeding. His previous attorney, Scott Getsinger, withdrew from the case on Thursday.
Second-degree animal cruelty is punishable by up to a year in jail.