Man sentenced to 5 years for killing dog set on fire in Virginia park

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The man who admitted to killing Tommie the dog was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison.

Jyahshua Hill pleaded guilty to felony animal cruelty after being found competent to stand trial after sanity and competency evaluations came back negative.

As a part of a plea deal, Hill got a maximum 5-year sentence, without the possibility of parole, and will have three years of post-release supervision by the court. He was also banned from owning a companion animal for the rest of his life.

The crime sparked widespread outrage and even led to Tommie’s Law, which increased the penalty for all animal cruelty to a Class 6 felony, a charge carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison or a $2,500 fine.

Tommie, who was named by his rescuers, was found tied to an Abner Clay Park fence and set on fire the night of February 10, 2019.

Hill was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force on May 20 and charged with felony animal cruelty following a months-long investigation into the death of Tommie.

Hill spoke to CBS 6 by phone in June. He said he owned the male brindle pitbull they named “Choo Choo” for several months. He claimed the dog had attacked several of his family members.

Hill stated that he tried to give the dog away to various shelters, but no one would take it in because the dog was deemed too vicious.

“The dog attacked my daughter and I snapped. I did what I had to do to protect my kids from the dog,” Hill described.

Hill claimed that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which caused him to become “blacked out.” He stated he wasn’t under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crime.

This is a developing story.

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