Guilty verdict handed down in Braveheart trial

Guilty verdict handed down in Braveheart trial

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A Caddo Parish jury has reached a verdict in the animal cruelty trial against Gabriel Lee.

It took jurors about an hour to hand down their guilty verdict of simple cruelty to animals.

Closing arguments started Thursday morning after the state and defense rested their cases Wednesday afternoon.

Lee was charged with cruelty to animals after authorities say he chained up and starved a pit pull puppy, now known as Braveheart, back in 2013.

"It keeps being mentioned whether or not he found the dog three days ago, but personally if I find a dog in that condition, and I know it's in that condition, I'm calling somebody," said Doris Campbell, an animal right's advocate who traveled to Caddo Parish from Jackson Mississippi.

The small jury of five females and one male listened to prosecutors' claim that Lee intentionally left the dog in a storage facility.

But Lee's defense attorneys claimed their client was not guilty and that the people involved have a condition that's called redirected aggression. The defense described redirected aggression as a condition when someone sees something horrible and lashes out at the closest target.

Since jurors found Lee guilty on the lesser charge of simple cruelty to animals, Lee now faces 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“We were at peace with a guilty verdict but we were definitely disappointed,” said Rhonda Spataro, Braveheart's current owner.

Lee was placed back behind bars after he was remanded into custody following the guilty verdict. He was booked into the Caddo Correctional Center Thursday afternoon on a $1,500 bond. He has since bonded out.

Sentencing is set for February 10, 2015.

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