FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Three Virginia men, who tortured and killed two goats last year, were sentenced to at least three years in prison on Tuesday.
Andrew J. Haefele, 37, and Donald Ray Compton Jr., 35, both of Spotsylvania, and Charles E. McKinney, 35, of Maurertown, received the sentences in connection with a June 18, 2020, incident, The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg reported. The goats were struck with a spiked mace -- a medieval weapon -- attacked by dogs, and had their throats slit, the newspaper reported.
Compton also received another three years for convictions of possessing a gun as a felon and violating his probation, according to the Free Lance-Star.
The owner of the goats, Halie E. Morgan, 22, had been convicted of two misdemeanors and sentenced to 24 months in jail, the newspaper reported. Since Morgan’s convictions are misdemeanors, she will only have to serve 12 months.
Because of the way the law is written, Morgan could not be convicted of a felony involving her own goats even though she authorized and encouraged the slaughter.
Compton’s attorney, Christopher Reyes, sought leniency for his client and referenced Morgan, who was not convicted of a felony even though she allegedly authorized the slaughter.
“The entire reason we are here is because of a fourth defendant who isn’t here today,” Reyes told the court. “It boggles the mind.”
Prosecutor Ryan Mehaffey, meanwhile, referred to the group as “meth heads” and said they deserved a stiff sentence because of their actions, the Free Lance-Star reported. Mahaffey added that the trio’s “sadistic quality” of their treatment of the animals was “shocking to any normal citizen.”
According to investigators, a neighbor called police and reported that people at a home in Spotsylvania County were using various objects to torture the animals, The Associated Press reported. Police later recovered a video narrated by Compton that showed the defendants enjoying the goats’ suffering.
Defense attorneys conceded that the actions were horrific but asked for mercy, saying that the defendants had drug addictions that affected their judgment.
Judge Ricardo Rigual countered by saying that the addictions do not excuse the defendants’ actions, according to the Free Lance-Star.
“You’ve lost some humanity and I hope you’re able to get it back at some point,” Rigual said.