Jury convicts Suchecki
BRECKENRIDGE – After fours hours of deliberation, a 12-person jury found Silverthorne resident Nathan Suchecki guilty of reckless animal cruelty against his boxer puppy Roscoe, a relief to Suchecki who had been facing a felony charge.”We’re very happy,” said Suchecki’s lawyer, Todd Barson. “It’s hard to say there’s a success when there’s a tragedy involving a dog, even though it’s our firm belief that Nathan didn’t contribute to that.”Suchecki was charged with felony aggravated assault on an animal after Roscoe was taken from his care last April with nearly 30 broken bones in his ribs and face. Roscoe also had some disfiguration on the right side of his mouth and was significantly underweight for a 5-month-old puppy. The prosecution was hoping for a stiffer conviction, said deputy district attorney Elizabeth Oldham.”We would have preferred aggravated cruelty to animals, but the jury did a good job,” Oldham said.Suchecki bought Roscoe from a breeder in late December 2003. Summit County Animal Control seized the dog on April 12, 2004 after receiving one of numerous complaints from Suchecki’s neighbor, John Mahan.Mahan said he often heard Suchecki yelling at the dog, followed by a loud pain-filled yelp, but Barson claimed Mahan was being overly cautious and that Suchecki never struck Roscoe.”How is it that not one doctor, not one witness ever saw lacerations, bruises or signs of pain in the dog?” asked Barson in his closing arguments.He urged jurors to remember that no one ever witnessed Suchecki beat Roscoe and there was no evidence that Suchecki didn’t feed his dog.The defense’s main arguments were that Roscoe may have had a nutritional disorder and a metabolic bone disorder.But, deputy district attorney Arly Miner painted Suchecki as a “cold and calculated” animal torturer.”Roscoe looked worse than a dog that was run over by a car – Roscoe was run over by that man,” Miner said pointing at Suchecki.Miner argued there was no other explanation for Roscoe’s injuries as he has not suffered one broken bone since he was taken from Suchecki and has put on considerable weight.She accused Suchecki of not feeding Roscoe because he didn’t want the dog to go to the bathroom in his “perfectly neat house.”The jury weighed testimony from more than 20 witnesses during the three-day trial in Summit District Court, including Roscoe’s former foster parents and current owners, expert veterinarians, Suchecki’s neighbors and several family members who visited Suchecki while he owned Roscoe.Suchecki himself chose not to take the stand.Judge Ed Casias ordered Suchecki to attend an anger-management class before sentencing, which is scheduled for March 17.Suchecki’s class one misdemeanor is punishable by six months to two years of nonmandatory jail time and the possibility of fines.Oldham said she will confer with animal control and the dog’s current owners before deciding on a sentence to request.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 229 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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