AR-News: (CO - US) Accused puppy killer in court Monday
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Snugglezzz at aol.com
Sat Mar 13 12:22:14 EST 2004
Saturday, March 13, 2004
Accused puppy killer in court Monday by <A HREF="mailto:jellis at evergreenco.com">Jonathan Ellis</A>
GOLDEN - Angry humane society workers descended on a Jefferson County
courtroom Monday, where they denounced a man who has admitted to torching three
puppies last month.
Ryan Turtura, 19, appeared in court via a teleconference where he was charged
with first-degree arson, second-degree arson, three counts of second-degree
burglary and three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals. He faces 54 years
in prison. Jefferson County sheriff's investigators arrested him last week in
connection with stealing four puppies from an Englewood Colorado Humane Society
shelter and burning three of them.
"This is a win of sorts," said Bob Warren, director of communications for the
Colorado Humane Society. "The guy's in an orange suit. He's going to be in an
orange suit for a long time, and maybe he will be in an orange suit for 20 or
Six humane society workers joined Warren at Monday's hearing. They vowed to
monitor Turtura's progress through the justice system.
"These are the people who care for these animals day-in and day-out," Warren
said while holding back tears.
"It's the core of our being, the core of our beliefs."
One worker, Carlena Diaz, said she was devastated after learning one of the
puppies she cared for was set on fire. The puppy was seriously injured.
"It was just so horrifying," Diaz said.
Turtura declined an interview request through the Jeffco Sheriff's Office. A
woman who identified herself as his grandmother declined to comment from her
home Monday. Turtura's mother did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Authorities were holding him Monday in lieu of a $25,000 bond at the
Jefferson County Jail.
Investigators arrested Turtura after his girlfriend's mother recognized him
in a surveillance photo released to the media last week. A Walgreen's
surveillance camera took the photo while Turtura purchased rubbing alcohol, which he
used to ignite one of the dogs, according to an arrest affidavit.
Turtura told investigators that he burglarized the shelter on the night of
Feb. 16, stealing two puppies and a kennel. He taped their front and rear legs
and drove the dogs to an Arvada movie theater at 5550 Wadsworth Blvd. There, he
doused the kennel in rubbing alcohol and set the dogs on fire, according to
One puppy died and another was seriously injured.
Turtura then returned to the shelter, stole two more puppies and drove to the
Walgreen's at 5870 South Kipling Parkway to buy more rubbing alcohol. He took
the dogs behind the Bally's Total Fitness Center at 8996 West Bowles Ave. and
set a black puppy on fire, the affidavit said. That puppy died.
He dropped the second puppy after a Bally's employee came out to investigate
a burning smell. Turtura also told investigators that he had his own dog with
him throughout the night.
Warren credited the Jeffco Sheriff's Office with putting a potentially
dangerous person behind bars.
"The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office did an amazing job," he said. "I've
never seen a case closed this fast."
Deputies tracked Turtura to an apartment at 9043 W. Cross Drive, where he was
staying with friends.
Turtura attended the Collegiate Academy, a Jeffco charter school, but did not
graduate, said Rick Kaufman, spokesman for Jeffco Public Schools. He was not
enrolled in school this year.
Turtura's public defender has until March 18 to request a preliminary hearing.
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