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Ny Man Gets 2 Years In Jail For Killing Goldfish


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March 29, 2006 -- Fry him! An appeals court says a Manhattan man was properly sentenced to two years in prison for the cold-blooded killing of a goldfish.

"You want to see something awesome?" Michael Garcia asked 9-year-old Juan Torres before stomping on the boy's goldfish, named Crystal, killing it instantly two years ago.

"My sisters were very upset. They were crying," Juan, now 11, told The Post. Garcia later attacked both Juan and his mom, Emelie Martinez. Garcia was convicted of assault and felony animal cruelty - but argued that the cruelty rap should be reduced to a misdemeanor or tossed altogether because the victim was just a fish.

"Beloved household pets they [fish] may be, but 'companion animals' in the same vein as dogs or cats they are not," argued Garcia's lawyer, Robert Dean. "If dropped in a pond and offered the opportunity to swim away, a goldfish will do so without any hesitation and not look back."

But in a landmark decision, the state Appellate Division yesterday disagreed with Dean's contention "that all household pets are equal, but some are more equal than others."

While the five-judge panel partially reduced Garcia's overall prison sentence on a technicality, they upheld the felony cruelty conviction, filleting his argument that "goldfish are not domesticated animals because given the opportunity they would leave home."

"While this trait arguably distinguishes fish from dogs and, probably to a lesser extent, cats, it fails to take into account that many other animals commonly considered pets . . . would depart for less confining venues and greener pastures if given the opportunity," Justice James Catterson wrote.

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The fish kill happened in 2003 in the Lower East Side apartment Garcia shared with Martinez, her three kids, Juan, Crystal, then 8, and Emaleeann, 5, two dogs, and a cat. They also had three goldfish, named after the kids.

Martinez said she woke up at 3 that morning to find the 6-foot-5 Garcia standing over her, holding their 20-gallon fish tank. He then hurled it into the TV, shattering both.

Juan rushed out to see what was happening, which is when Garcia "stomped" on Crystal, the decision says.

Garcia went berserk again the next day, punching Martinez in the face and choking her. He went after Juan when he jumped in to help his mom.

He was sent up the river for seven to 15 years, but the appeals court reduced his time to five to 11 years after finding fault with one of the assault convictions.

Dean said he'll attempt to appeal the decision to the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals.

TW

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:( How horrible! Well I guess this is one of those times where our justice system got the bad guy! :yeah:

You read of so many stories where someone abuses an animal and gets a slap on the hand and thats it. :rolleyes:

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People are amazing creatures........too bad some of them are STUPID & CRUEL! It sounds like that guy has serious mental problems! 2 years seems pretty light for ALL the things he did to the whole family!!!

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how could someone do that? put him away for longer i say, the poor child! given his behavior he does indeed have very bad mental problems, and those poor fish! GAH! people can be so stupid and mean sometimes! :madrant

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Martinez said she woke up at 3 that morning to find the 6-foot-5 Garcia standing over her, holding their 20-gallon fish tank. He then hurled it into the TV, shattering both.

TW

501505[/snapback]

Wow. A person could actually lift a 20-gallon tank????? and HURL it??? :blink:

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Wow, that guy really deserved it! It's awesome to hear a story like this when I read so many articles where people get away with istreating goldies. Hopefully this case will show a turn around in how the legal system responds to animal cruelty inflicted on fish. praying.gif

As far as the short sentence, it sounds like this is just the hearing on his animal cruelty count. I'm sure he's racked up counts of assault etc., and will be tried for those seperately. This guy will probably be put away longer.

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That poor family! If he did this to them, you can bet his behaviour was not just a one-off... I hope that being in jail will give the family time to recover.

Hopefully, this sentence will help GF everywhere! :D

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He definitely got what he deserved. Just watching your pet be killed in front of you must be traumatic, but it sounds like the family endured much worse. This guy definitely needed locked up!

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I still cant get over the bit about how he picked up a 20-gallon tank and HURLED it at the TV. tell me, does he strike you as a guy who'd bother draining the tank first? A 20-gallon is INSANELY heavy! maybe it's typo or something... sure it's not actually a 2-gallon?

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Guest Trackwalker
Is there a source for this article?

502410[/snapback]

If you read the title it is from The New York Post.

I believe the reference to a 20 gallon is a misprint, it most likely it is a 10 gallon tank which is still pretty heavy.

tW

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Manyu I agree. That popped out at me as soon as I read it. How does someone lift and HURL a 200lb fish tank? :blink:

I guess it doesn't matter really, that guy is messed up. I know a lot of people don't care for fish (I'm glad the court did!!!!) but recking the tank and TV and then stomping on the fish? Then attacking the woman (gf maybe?) and her kid? Issues...

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We do have to take into account that when adreline is flowing you can do some crazy things. He might have even been doing stimulant drugs, you never know!

I hurt for those children. Domestic violence is not something a child should have to witness, but on top of losing a beloved pet. A double blow!

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Absouletly appauling! But it really sounds like this guy was on some sort of "drug" or otherwise-Like Kimma stated above. People don't usually just lash out like that for no reason at all. <_< There must of been a motive behind all that nonsense.

But the fact remains, Very scary stuff. I feel for the children involved also. No child should have to go through that. Children are far to inocent for that junk in my opnion.

Good to know that they are bringing justice to the table on this one. :exactly Some people make me want to STOMP on them-See how they like it!!

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We do have to take into account that when adreline is flowing you can do some crazy things.  He might have even been doing stimulant drugs, you never know! 

502717[/snapback]

Well, may be so, but if you attempt to lift a glass tank of that weight you'd be more likely to drop it on your shoes than be able to hurl it. just holding a full 20-gallon without a supporting stand at the bottom will shatter the glass due to unevenness in the pressure points

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well, the New York Post ought to do better in looking into that sort of misquotes. Interestingly enough, if that wasn't a misquote and the witnesses actually stated that the guy did throw a 20-gallon tank in his outburst even if physical laws dictate its near-impossibility, the defense lawyer would have found this bit of info rather... interesting.

Not that I'm on the side of the guy or anything (I personally find domestic abuse a cowardly and reprehensibe form of self-gratifying sh*t) but we also should be more diligent in scrutinizing details and not jump into empathizing conclusions so fast.

I did hate him for stepping on that fish though so I really, really, REALLY hope that was a typo.

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