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UPDATE ON TEENWHO SET TURTLE ON FIRE July 21, 2006 11:34 AM

Focus:Animal WelfareAction RequestetitionLocation:United StatesHere is an update on the teen who lit the turtle on fire over and over again.
In court he pleaded not guilty!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He has until Monday to change his plea, if he does no change his plea then it will go to trial.
Make sure everyone you know has signed the petition.
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 August 10, 2006 12:22 PM


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Use the buttons below to submit or edit this share.  ! By Brittany Lawonn, The Forum
Published Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Joel Charles Ross says he and two friends decided to light a large snapping turtle on fire not once, but twice, to make a better video.

“We did it again in a different kind of way,” Ross said in Clay County District Court on Monday. “We dressed up differently and tried to make the movie more funny and exciting.”

Ross, 18, of Hawley, Minn., pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty for the May incident in which he and two juvenile friends videotaped themselves lighting a turtle on fire while dancing around it.

The video was posted online and eventually led to Ross’ arrest when a Hawley police officer received it in an e-mail.

Ross admitted in court Monday that he and two friends were hanging out when they found a turtle in his friend’s yard and the three “all agreed to light it on fire.”

“I put the gas on the turtle and made a trail, and one of my friends ignited it with a lighter,” he said.

Ross described how the three then left the turtle and came back about 10 minutes later to find it gone.

When asked by Judge Michael Kirk if he knew that lighting the turtle on fire would be “cruel and painful to the animal,” Ross nodded his head and said “yes, sir.”

Kirk ordered a presentencing investigation Monday because of the incident’s nature. Kirk will sentence Ross on Sept. 18.

Ross could face up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Dennis Fisher, Ross’s attorney, said he does not expect Ross will receive the maximum penalty because the two juveniles involved received community service.

Kirk also ordered a psychiatric evaluation for Ross after Fisher said “it was too expensive for the family to do it on their own.”

During Ross’ last appearance on July 24, Fisher and Hawley city prosecutor Kevin Miller asked for the evaluation to take place to “know exactly what we’re dealing with.”

“I think it might give us some valid insight,” Miller said Monday.

After the hearing, Fisher said he plans to have Ross’ pastor and family testify during the Sept. 18 sentencing hearing.

“It would seem to me this is an aberration in his conduct, a one-time event, never to happen again,” Fisher said. “He has pets at home; he’s had pets at home before. None of those animals have ever been harmed.”

Fisher said Ross has received threatening mail and the family just wants to put it behind them.

Ross, who will be a senior in high school this fall, regrets the incident, Fisher said.

“He’s a genuinely kind young man. I don’t know what happened to  [ send green star]
 
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