November 27, 2020

Teens accused in two horse killings to enter pleas

SKOWHEGAN – Corey J. Cook of Pittsfield and Andrew Johansmeier of Waterville, the two 16-year-old boys accused of killing two horses last month in Pittsfield, will appear in court Wednesday to enter their pleas to the charges filed against them.

The hearing has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at District Court in Skowhegan.

Cook and Johansmeier are accused of killing Rocket, an 8-year-old quarterhorse, and Have At It, a 12-year-old standardbred, as they grazed in a pasture off Route 100 on Nov. 25. They also reportedly shot at a passing tractor-trailer truck on Interstate 95, striking its gas tank but not causing an accident.

They are charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated criminal mischief with the use of a firearm, cruelty to an animal with the use of a firearm and reckless conduct with a firearm, all Class C felonies; aggravated criminal mischief with a firearm, a Class B felony; and a misdemeanor charge of shooting a domestic animal.

According to District Attorney David Crook, forensic evaluations of the boys were ordered at their arraignment on Dec. 4, after which they were ordered incarcerated at Northern Maine Juvenile Center in Charleston. The results of the evaluations will be used by Crook on Wednesday to determine if the boys will be bound over as adults or juveniles.

The punishment under both age categories is nearly identical, according to Crook, who said that the maximum jail term the boys could receive, if convicted, is five years. If jail time is imposed, said Crook, a convicted adult would serve time in prison, while a convicted juvenile would be detained at the Maine Youth Center in South Portland.

Crook said that the remaining elements of a conviction – such as restitution, community service and probation – also would be the same for both adults and juveniles.

Crook released the names of the boys in petitions filed this week in Skowhegan District Court.

The killing of the horses, owned by Dr. Tim Powers and Pamela Pelotte, sparked outrage among Maine’s animal lovers, particularly horse enthusiasts.

Hundreds turned out on Dec. 9 for a silent convoy from the pasture where the horses died to the Skowhegan courthouse, in a plea to Crook to appropriately punish the boys if they are convicted.

The killings also have prompted an effort to introduce legislation that would change the killing of a domestic animal from a misdemeanor to a felony.

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