Animal Cruelty

Darius Ewing gets 5-year sentence in Justice puppy animal cruelty case

Darius Ewing gets 5-year sentence in Justice puppy animal cruelty

Darius Ewing, one of the four defendants charged with animal cruelty for killing a four-month-old puppy nicknamed Justice, was sentenced on August 23 to five years in state prison.

His sentence begins immediately, and he will get credit for time served.

Ewing pleaded guilty on August 20, along with co-defendant Richard Valentine. Adrian Ayers pleaded guilty in June and Darius Carey pleaded guilty on August 16. But the greatest scrutiny was on Ewing, who was accused of having been the person to have poured lighter fluid on the dog.

An uproar rose in the animal rescue community on August 20 when Judge Larry Mitchell did not immediately sentence Ewing to five years, even though that sentence had been agreed upon by the district attorney's office and Ewing's defense attorney. Advocates created an anti-Mitchell campaign that included the creation of a Facebook page called "Do Not Vote For Larry Mitchell."

The announcement of the five-year sentence was met with relief, embodied by the message posted on the Facebook page of rescue group DFW Rescue Me:

Judge Mitchell has determined that Darius Ewing is guilty of causing the death of Justice by fire. Whether it was all the public outrage? Or the massive amount of emails, letters, and comments? Or his "supporters" asking what the hell he was thinking? Finally, Justice for Justice.

Mugshot of Darius Ewing
Darius Ewing has been sentenced to five years in jail. Photo courtesy of Dallas County Sheriff's Office
Justice, burned puppy, animal cruelty
Justice the puppy died in 2012. Photo by Teresa Gubbins