Jury Recommends $1K Fine for Couple in Pig Slaughtering Case

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Front sign of Albemarle Circuit Court in downtown Charlottesville (FILE IMAGE) Front sign of Albemarle Circuit Court in downtown Charlottesville (FILE IMAGE)
Lee Oakes Jr. Lee Oakes Jr.
Jerelyn Sutter Jerelyn Sutter
Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA (FILE IMAGE) Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA (FILE IMAGE)

A couple who slaughtered a pig they allegedly stole from the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA will not spend time in jail for the crime. The jury recommends they a pay $1,000 fine.

Early Saturday morning, a jury found Lee Oakes Jr. and Jerelyn Sutter guilty of animal cruelty and malicious wounding of a swine. But jurors also found the two not guilty of larceny.

Authorities believe the couple stole a pig from the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA on July 3, 2016, for the purposes of eating it during a Fourth of July barbeque.

Sutter was an SPCA employee at the time of the incident. Her fiance, Oakes, does not deny that he killed the pig, and Sutter admitted to holding the animal down while it was being stabbed. The couple claims the pig was feral and did not have an owner.

The court heard witness testimony from 13 people, including officers with the Albemarle County Police Department and employees of the SPCA.

Jurors were shown video surveillance of the pig being stabbed dozens of times in the parking lot of the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA.

The defense asked the judge to drop the charges against Oakes and Sutter before it began to present its case. The judge denied the defense's request.

Sutter took the witness stand in her defense. She told the courtroom, "Never in my life I wanted an animal to suffer."

The defendant went on to say that cutting the pig's skin and muscle was more difficult than she and Oakes had anticipated. Sutter believed that Oakes was trying to quickly kill the pig with a deep slice to the animal, and not just stabbing at it.