Case Snapshot
Case ID: 10798
Classification: Beating
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Monday, Feb 19, 2007

County: Gwinnett

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Dismissed

Person of Interest: Jonathan Babineaux

Case Updates: 6 update(s) available

Gwinnett County police arrested Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux Monday morning on a charge of felony animal cruelty. Babineaux has bonded out of jail.

According to Cpl. Darren Moloney of the Gwinnett County Police Department, Babineaux's wife took a dog to an animal emergency center in Gwinnett County on Feb 18. The dog later died and the subsequent investigation led to an arrest warrant for Babineaux. According to Moloney, investigators believe Babineaux "somehow had a direct hand in killing the animal."

A necropsy on the dog will not be performed until Feb 20 to determine the cause of death.

The Falcons confirmed the arrest in a brief statement.

"We're aware of the situation and we're in the process of gathering information," said Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts. "Until we have the information we need, we will have no further comment."


Case Updates

A felony animal-cruelty charge against Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux has been dismissed, authorities said Wednesday.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said his office conducted an exhaustive investigation after police charged Babineaux with killing his girlfriend's pit bull-mix in February.

Investigators were able to verify that dog had a history of unprovoked attacks, and that a dog trainer had told Babineaux to spin the dog on a leash when it became aggressive, Porter said.

Babineaux would likely have been suspended from the NFL if a grand jury had indicted him, said Pat McDonough, one of his lawyers.

"We are extremely excited that we were able to prove that Jonathan was innocent," McDonough said Wednesday. "The stakes were very high for him. This was the end of a very promising career if things went the wrong way."

Babineaux's lawyer also praised Falcons owner Arthur Blank for sticking by Babineaux even though he was under immense pressure to trade him. Detractors of Falcons' quarterback Michael Vick, who pleaded guilty to federal charges related to dog fighting, have linked the two cases in protests.

McDonough said that Babineaux had proven himself to be "a person of the utmost character" and that "he is the type of person that should be the face of the Falcons and the NFL."

In announcing his decision to dismiss the charge, Porter cited "uncertainty among experts about the exact cause of death and how the injury came about." He also mentioned "the distinct possibility that the defendant's statement is true based on the physical evidence at the scene as well as the likely trajectory of the dog when it was spun on the leash.

"There is not enough evidence to exclude every reasonable hypothesis other than the guilt of the accused," Porter said in a statement.

Police charged Babineaux in February in the death of his girlfriend Blair Anderson's dog, "Kilo." Babineaux was released from jail on $2,300 bond shortly after his arrest.

From the beginning, Babineaux has denied hurting the dog. Prosecutors agreed to delay seeking an indictment in the case until Babineaux's defense attorneys, McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, could conduct their own investigation.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution - Nov 7, 2007
Update posted on Nov 7, 2007 - 9:44PM 
Gwinnett police allege that Babineaux killed his live-in girlfriend's dog, a pit bull mix named Kilo, in February.

"I'm not addressing that right now, all I'm worrying about is football," Babineaux said during a recent interview. "When the time comes I'll address the media."

When pressed about the dog charges Babineaux was not forthcoming.

"It's all in my lawyer's hands," said Babineaux, who has denied hurting the dog according to police.

With a league-wide crackdown by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on players with off-the-field issues, Babineaux could find himself getting called to New York. If convicted he'll likely be facing a suspension from Goodell.

His attorney, Patrick John McDonough, recently said that investigation of the death of the dog was still ongoing.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution - May 11, 2007
Update posted on Jun 3, 2007 - 2:50PM 
Police received the results Thursday of a necropsy for the dog owned by the girlfriend of Atlanta Falcon football player Jonathan Babineaux.

Babineaux was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals in February. The player was charged after girlfriend Blair Anderson's one-and-a-half-year-old pit bull Kilo was injured and died after allegedly being left alone with Babineaux on Feb. 18.

Gwinnett County Police Department spokesman Cpl. Darren Moloney said the results of the necropsy are inconsistent with statements made by Babineaux about what happened to the dog.

Moloney said specific information about the necropsy would not be released due to the seriousness of the charges against Babineaux and pending prosecution.
Source: Gwinett Daily Post - March 9, 2007
Update posted on Mar 11, 2007 - 6:16PM 
On February 23, an animal protection organization asked Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank to suspend a defensive lineman facing animal abuse charges. PETA is urging Blank to suspend Jonathan Babineaux until the case is resolved. "Furthermore, if Babineaux is convicted, we ask that your organization release him."

A letter was also sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell urging him to suspend the Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle from the NFL-if he is found guilty of cruelty to animals-for the full 2008 season, and to implement a strict zero-tolerance policy against animal abuse by NFL players and staff.

The plea comes in the wake of the reported beating death of a dog belonging to Blair Anderson, Babineaux's live-in girlfriend. Babineaux is accused of beating the animal to death after having an argument with Anderson, and he was arrested on a felony charge of cruelty to animals.
Source: Sports Illustrated - Feb 23, 2007
Update posted on Feb 25, 2007 - 8:47PM 
The second pit bull belonging to Atlanta Falcon defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and girlfriend Blair Anderson was released back to the couple Thursday.

The couple's dog was taken into custody by Gwinnett County Animal Control Sunday after Babineaux was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals for allegedly causing injuries that resulted in the death of the couple's second dog, Kilo, a 1-year-old pit bull mix.

Gwinnett County Police Department spokesman Cpl. Darren Moloney said preliminary investigations indicated Kilo died Sunday of blunt force trauma to the head.
The uninjured dog was taken to the Animal Emergency Center of Gwinnett at 1956 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road on Sunday after Anderson was called home by Babineaux to check on the dog and found Kilo injured. Moloney said the dog was pronounced dead at the animal hospital.

"Preliminary investigations indicate Kilo died due to blunt force trauma to the head," Moloney said. "Necropsy results are not expected until mid next week."

Moloney said police contacted Babineaux by phone Sunday and met with him at the animal hospital to question him about the incident. The 25-year-old football player told police he was not responsible for the animal's death, Moloney said.

He said the other dog, Ace, was later released because authorities had no legal right to continue to hold the dog.
"We have to do what we are legally bound to do," he said.

Investigators are waiting for necropsy reports, which Moloney said are expected to determine the exact cause of death.
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post - Feb 23, 2007
Update posted on Feb 23, 2007 - 9:48PM 
Atlanta Falcons player Jonathan Babineaux killed his girlfriend's dog Sunday night, leading to his arrest on a charge of felony cruelty to animals, Gwinnett County police said Tuesday.

Babineaux, 25, of Lawrenceville called his live-in girlfriend Blair Anderson at the movies Sunday evening, where she had gone after they had a verbal argument, police said. Babineaux told her she needed to come home to check on her year-and-a-half-old pit bull mix, Kilo.

Anderson, 24, told police she found the dog in "severe physical distress." She bundled the dog and drove to the Animal Emergency Center of Gwinnett near Lawrenceville. The dog vomited blood in the car and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The center summoned police.

Babineaux, a 6-foot-2, 286-pound defensive lineman, denied harming the dog when officers asked what happened, police said.

"Babineaux's accounts of what happened was inconsistent with the limited physical information provided by the Animal Emergency Center of Gwinnett," Cpl. Darren Moloney said in a written statement.

Police said they are still awaiting test results, but added that preliminary information indicates the dog died from blunt force trauma to the head.

A person convicted of felony cruelty to animals could receive a sentence of one to five years and/or a fine not to exceed $15,000.

Babineaux could not be reached for comment Tuesday. His attorney Pat McDonough told the the Journal-Constitution: "I have recently been retained but my preliminary investigation reveals he did nothing wrong and we will defend him vigorously." McDonough refused to elaborate.

"Until we get the full facts we've decided to withhold all comment," Babineaux's agent Jack Bechta told the AJC. "We want to make it clear there was not, and has never been, any instance of domestic violence."

The Falcons issued a statement saying they would have no comment because the issue was a personal and legal matter and referred all calls to Babineaux's attorney.
Babineaux was arrested at his townhouse at 12:59 a.m. Monday and was released a few hours later on $2,300 bond.

Animal control took the couple's other pit bull, Ace, for safe-keeping during the course of the investigation, police said.

In a letter sent to Gwinnett County District Attorney Daniel Porter, a copy of which was also sent to the AJC, Richard Rice the Georgia State Program Director of the Humane Society of the United States urged Babineaux to be prosecuted.

"If it is indeed true that Babineaux is responsible for maliciously killing his dog, then it is imperative that he be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, not only so that he is held accountable for animal suffering, but also because of the threat he poses to community safety in general," Rice wrote.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2/20/06
Update posted on Feb 21, 2007 - 9:38PM 

References

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