Dog-killing, stalking case of Fred Lee Wright goes to grand jury
By Iva Butler | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Louisville man was bound over to the grand jury Tuesday on the felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals and the misdemeanor offense of stalking.
Fred Lee Wright, 62, is accused of killing a 7-month-old miniature pinscher named Kyra which belonged to his neighbor. He is being held in the Blount County Detention Facility on $50,000 bond.
The dog was shot at least twice and possibly three times, according to the testimony of Dr. Robert L. Donnell, an anatomic pathologist with the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine
About 2½ to 3 hours after the dog was shot on Aug. 27, its owner Diane Stephens brought it to the college where an autopsy was performed on the dog.
Nick Black, the defense attorney for Wright, tried to portray the death as humane, but Donnell did not agree. “For a companion animal this was not a humane death,” he said.
Wright and Stephens are next-door neighbors, each having 5 acres of land on Cub Drive in Louisville.
Stephens testified that she moved to the location in September 2006. At first the relationship between Wright and his wife and Stephens was peaceful, but that came to an end.
Wright complained that her dogs, some of which she was fostering, were barking and causing him distress.
In 2010, Stephens sent Wright a letter saying neither he nor his wife were to be on her property again.
At 8 a.m. Aug. 27, Wright was allegedly standing in Cub Drive in front of Stephens’ driveway when she was going to work. Wright had to step aside in order for her to go around the man to leave her driveway, she testified.
She called 911 and met Blount County Deputy Becky Arnold at the intersection of Cub and Wrights Ferry Road.
After explaining the situation, Stephens asked Arnold to check on her dogs and house.
There Arnold found one of four chain-link fence kennels was open, a dog collar had been forcefully broken and a dead brown and black dog was lying on the ground with what appeared to be stab wounds. The autopsy later revealed it had been shot.
Arnold said in her deposition there was no justifiable purpose in killing the dog in such a depraved and sadistic manner.
She also said Wright said he killed the dog because it was barking.
Stephens said at 8 a.m. on May 20, 2011, as she was putting the garbage out near the end of her drive, she encountered Wright in a creek bed on the other side of her mailbox.
Stephens said Wright threatened to shoot her and her dogs. “He pulled a gun out of his pants and started waving it around,” she said. She called 911.
Then at 8 a.m. on Aug. 12, 2012, she was again putting out the garbage and Wright reportedly got nose to nose with her, said he was going to hit her and made some sexual remarks. She again called 911.
In conclusion, Blount County Assistant District Attorney General Ellen Berez said the fact a dog is barking did not give Wright the right to kill it.
“He had no permission to get nose to nose with her,” she said.
Stephens suffered such emotional distress that she was afraid to leave her house. She put up extra lighting and a gate, but the harassment did not stop, Berez said.
Blount County General Sessions Court Judge Robert L. Headrick found there was probable cause to bind the case to a Blount County grand jury.
He also rejected Black’s bid to have Wright’s $50,000 bond reduced.