Case Snapshot
Case ID: 10922
Classification: Mutilation/Torture
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
More cases in Ramsey County, MN
More cases in MN
Login to Watch this Case

New features are coming soon. Login with Facebook to get an early start and help us test them out!



Images for this Case

For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.



Wednesday, Mar 7, 2007

County: Ramsey

Charges: Felony Non-CTA
Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 2 files available

Defendant/Suspect: Anthony Albert Gomez

Case Updates: 9 update(s) available

A St. Paul family is both heartbroken and terrified after their dog was killed. St. Paul Police say someone cut off the dog's head and wrapped it in a box for the family to find.

The case is especially devastating because the Australian Shepherd was a special therapy dog owned by a 17-year-old girl.

"Nobody had seen the dog," said Bobbi Brown, mother of the dog's owner.

The family hung up missing posters throughout their St. Paul neighborhood. They frantically searched for their beloved pet, Chevy.

"When she got the package, that's how we found out," said Bobbi.

Left at the steps, a package in Christmas wrapping paper, addressed to 17-year-old Crystal Brown. She opened it.

"She was just hysterical. She was screaming, she said 'Grandma, it's my dog's head.' I said no it can't be... and it was the dog's head," said Shirley Brown, Crystal's Grandmother.

"I had to ask my grandma five different times, 'Is that my dog?'" said Crystal. "I didn't believe her."

Bobbi still sobs, recalling that day two weeks ago.

"They had the box outside on the stairs and his head was in there," she said.

The family said they were disappointed with how St. Paul police responded. They said officers didn't collect evidence, but told them to throw everything away. They also accuse two officers of laughing.

"And to sit and laugh and the dog's head is right in front of you at your feet ... give me a break ... so I reported them the next day," said Shirley.

A spokesman for St. Paul Police said he can't talk about the initial officers' response because that's an internal investigation now.

Crystal has a new therapy dog, a gift from her grandmother, but only an arrest will ease the family's mind.

"That is so cruel," said Bobbi. "I miss him."

The dog's body was discovered in a park. The family believes the suspect is someone they know.

St. Paul Homicide officers are investigating the case now, not because the dog was killed but because they consider what happened a high-level threat against the family.


Case Updates

A man who urged an acquaintance to cut off the head of his ex-girlfriend's dead dog, which was later sent to her in a gift-wrapped box, has been sentenced to one year and nine months in prison.

In Ramsey County District Court this morning, Anthony Albert Gomez, 25, apologized for his involvement, but said he wasn't the one who killed the dog.

"I loved her, I loved her very much," Gomez said of her ex-girlfriend, Crystal Brown, who was 17 at the time her dog was killed. "I wouldn't hurt her, I wouldn't physically hurt her."

But in pleading guilty in September to terroristic threats, Gomez admitted he knew Crystal would see the head of her dead dog, "Chevy," and be terrorized by it.

Judge Elena Ostby sentenced Gomez, of St. Paul, to one year and nine months in prison, an upward departure from the sentencing guidelines. Gomez has been held in the Ramsey County jail since his arrest in March and has 252 days jail credit.

Crystal wasn't present during the sentencing, but her grandmother, Shirley Brown, was there and a prosecutor read a letter she had written to Gomez.

"What have we done to you to make you do such a horrible thing?" the letter said. "How could you do that? We trusted you, Chevy trusted you."

Shirley Brown wrote about Gomez eating and watching movies at her family's home, borrowing her car, taking him to work, and making him and his father an apple pie.

"I really don't think you understand what you have done to me and my family, the hurt you have caused," Brown wrote. "I can't even go to my daughter's house and visit because you killed Chevy right across the street. ... It hurts me so much to think about Chevy, he never hurt anyone. He gave us his love and protected our home. We felt safe with Chevy in the yard. You ripped the heart out of my family."
Gomez, who goes by the nickname "Bubba," admitted in court that he and an acquaintance took the dog into the basement of Gomez's home in February.

Gomez said that the other man shot and killed the 4-year-old Australian shepherd, and then Gomez encouraged him to cut off its head while he videotaped it.

Three or more people were involved in the crime, but prosecutors haven't charged anyone other than Gomez, assistant Ramsey County attorney Mark Hammer said in court today.

According to the criminal complaint, police responded Feb. 28 to a North End home where a Christmas-wrapped box had been left on the front steps.

It was addressed to Brown. The girl's grandmother, who cares for her, put the box in her bedroom. When Crystal opened it, she found the dog's head, along with a twin pack of AA batteries and two small boxes of Valentine's candy.

Chevy had been missing since Feb. 7. A St. Paul parks worker found the rest of the dog's body Feb. 21 in Lilydale Regional Park.

Another man called police in March to say Gomez killed the dog because Gomez wanted to get back at Brown, who had "jilted him," according to a search warrant application.

At the time, the girl's grandmother said Crystal was devastated. She had had a tumultuous life, and she often talked out her problems with the dog, the grandmother said.

Gomez told police that "missing drugs" was the motivation for the killing.

He said Crystal had been present when the drug-related matter transpired; she denied that allegation.

The terroristic threats charge is a more serious one than the original charges Gomez faced: mistreatment or killing of an animal and animal cruelty.

In exchange for the plea, Gomez was not being charged with two other incidents related to disputes in the Ramsey County jail in May and June.

Shirley Brown's letter concluded: "I hope you have to think about Chevy every time you see a dog. Someday maybe someone will take something that means as much to you as Chevy meant to us. I pray for it, maybe someday I could forgive you, but I'll never, never forget it. Our life will never be the same. You took away our beloved pet, our best friend."
Source: Twin Cities.Com - Nov 27, 2007
Update posted on Nov 30, 2007 - 4:54PM 
Anthony Gomez admitted in court on Tuesday to watching another man shoot and kill a pet dog, encouraging that man to behead the dog and knowing that seeing the beloved pet's severed head would terrorize a teenager who had spurned his affections.

Gomez, 24, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to a charge of terroristic threats before Ramsey County District Judge Elena Ostby.

He will be sentenced Nov. 27. In return, two lesser charges of torture or cruelty to a pet for companion animal will be dismissed.

Prosecutor Mark Hammer said Gomez agreed to an upward departure from sentencing guidelines and will receive a 21-month sentence. He will have to serve 14 months before he is eligible for release. Guidelines call for an 18-month stayed sentence.

Gomez has been in jail since he was charged in March. According to the criminal complaint and evidence at Tuesday's court hearing, Gomez watched as another man shot and killed the 4-year-old Australian shepherd mix named Chevy in the basement of Gomez's home.

Then Gomez said he encouraged the man to behead the dog with a chain saw and videotaped it on his cell phone.

Chevy belonged to Crystal Brown, 17, and was her "best friend" and therapy dog. The dog disappeared Feb. 7. Three weeks later, a package arrived at her grandmother's home addressed to Crystal. Inside was Valentine's candy and the dog's head, wrapped in a garbage bag.

Brown's family said Crystal had spurned his romantic advances and believed he had the dog killed and delivered its head out of spite.

Publicity about the case generated interest from around the world. Brown received letters of condolence, pictures of pets, dog toys and treats, gift cards and checks from as far away as Australia.

On Tuesday, Gomez admitted that he knew Brown would be "terrorized" when she opened the package. His voice was hoarse, slightly high-pitched and almost too soft to hear as he answered questions from Hammer, the prosecutor.

Gomez had been convicted of second-degree assault and sentenced to 21 months in prison for a 2004 attack in St. Paul when he stomped and kicked a friend at a party.

He was convicted of domestic assault in 2001, then violated probation after he failed to complete an anger management course.
Source: The Star-Tribune - Sep 18, 2007
Update posted on Sep 25, 2007 - 5:01PM 
Court contact information for this case is as follows:

Court Location:
Ramsey County Courthouse
15 West Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Phone: 651-266-3222
Court Date: Sept. 24, 2007 9 a.m. Jury Trial
Case # K 3071070

Prosecutor:
Mark Hammer
50 West Kellogg Blvd., Suite #315
St. Paul, MN 55102
Phone: 651-266-3222
Fax: 651-266-3010

Judge:
Edward Wilson
Ramsey County Courthouse
15 West Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Phone: 651-266-8297
Fax: 651-266-8278


Tips for Effective Letter Writing:
http://www.pet-abuse.com/pages/action_alerts/letter_writing.php
Source: Ramsey County Case #K 3071070
Update posted on Sep 10, 2007 - 11:36PM 
The trial for Anthony Albert Gomez has been rescheduled for September 24 at 9:00 a.m. at the Ramsey County Courthouse.

Gomez, who has two prior convictions for assault, faces felony charges of animal cruelty and mistreating or killing a companion animal for allegedly cutting off the head of a 17 year-old girl's therapy dog, and mailing it to her in a gift-wrapped box.
Source: Case # K3071070
Update posted on Jul 17, 2007 - 1:37PM 
A man accused of cutting off the head of his former girlfriend's dog and mailing it to her in a gift-wrapped box will go on trial this summer.

Anthony Albert Gomez, 24, is charged with one count of mistreating or killing a companion animal and one count of animal cruelty, both of which are felonies. Each charge carries a maximum punishment of four years' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

Chevy, an Australian Shepherd, went missing on February 17. Four days later, city park workers reportedly found the headless body of a dog matching Chevy's description.

According to a police officer's affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint, a box showed up at the home of Crystal Brown on February 28. When she opened it, she discovered to her horror that Chevy's severed head was inside.

Gomez has a 2005 conviction for second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, as well as a 2001 conviction for fifth-degree assault, according to records from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Gomez' trial is scheduled for July 16, 2007, at 9:00 a.m. in the Ramsey County Courthouse.
Source: Case # K3071070
Update posted on Jun 1, 2007 - 2:25PM 
Video clips of a dog being decapitated with a chain saw were found on the cell phone of a St. Paul man accused of killing his former girlfriend's pet, according to charges filed Friday.

The man, Anthony Albert Gomez, 24, is charged with two counts of cruelty to pets. He is currently being held on $35,000 bail and was scheduled to make his first appearance in Ramsey County District Court Friday afternoon.

After cutting off the dog's head, Gomez allegedly gift-wrapped it in a box and left it on the doorstep of Crystal Brown, 17, whom he had once dated. She had broken off the relationship.

Chevy, an Australian Shepherd, went missing Feb. 17. On Feb. 28, the box showed up at the home of Shirley Brown, who is Brown's grandmother. The box had a note addressed to Crystal.

When Crystal opened the box, she discovered to her horror that Chevy's severed head was inside. The box also contained two small boxes of Valentine's Day candy, and a twin pack of AA batteries, according to a police officer's affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint.

The affidavit says that after the dog disappeared, Gomez called Brown and said he'd seen Chevy near his house. He also apparently offered to buy her a new dog, "which she thought very odd," the affidavit claims.

Brown's grandmother suspected Gomez was involved and called police. When questioned by police, Gomez denied any involvement.

But among the items found when police got a search warrant and searched Gomez's home was his cell phone. On it, investigators found "video clips showing a dog having its head removed by a chain saw," the affidavit claims.

When asked about the clips, Gomez said he knew who decapitated the dog, and that the act had taken place in his basement, the affidavit says.

Gomez allegedly named others who he said committed the act, and he denied leaving the box at Brown's home. "He admitted 'instigating' the others by saying, 'Cut its head off' and do it with a chain saw," the affidavit said. "He said that it was done because of missing drugs."

He also claimed Brown was present at the time, but she denied it.

Shirley Brown has said the dog's disappearance and death had devastated her granddaughter, largely because the teen considered the Chevy a "therapy dog." She said her granddaughter has had a tumultuous life.

Crystal and Gomez live about two blocks from each other. They had been seeing each other since the fall, but she broke off their friendship.

Gomez has a 2005 conviction for second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, as well as a 2001 conviction for fifth-degree assault, according to records from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

On Feb. 21, four days after Chevy went missing, city parks workers found the headless body of a dog in Lilydale Regional Park. The carcass was disposed of on Feb. 26, and park workers said it matched the size and color of Brown's dog.

The cruelty charges against Gomez are felonies. He was charged with one count of mistreating or killing a companion animal, and one count of animal cruelty.

Each charge carries a maximum punishment of four years' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
Source: TwinCities.Com - March 23, 2007
Update posted on Mar 23, 2007 - 10:08PM 
Crystal Brown hopes that her nightmares will stop now that St. Paul police have arrested the man they believe decapitated her therapy dog and left its head in a gift box on her doorstep.

On Thursday, police recovered evidence that connects the man to the crime, Sgt. Jim Gray said. "He admitted to being there [when the dog was beheaded]," Gray said.

The suspect, 24, was jailed Thursday on suspicion of making terroristic threats. The Star Tribune isn't using his name because he hasn't yet been charged; that may happen as early as today and could include animal cruelty charges as well.

"I think I can sleep a lot better now," Crystal, 17, said Thursday night. "It will make me feel way safer. Now we can walk around the whole block."

For three weeks, Crystal and her grandmother, Shirley Brown, have lived in fear of the suspect, who lives in the Rice Street-area neighborhood.

Police also are investigating whether others were involved in the crime, which has generated national media attention and an outpouring of sympathy for Crystal in the form of cards, checks and gifts from people around the world.

Crystal was devastated last month when Chevy, her 4-year-old Australian shepherd mix, left the house and couldn't be found. She considered the brown-eyed dog her best friend, and leaned on him for comfort and support.

Two weeks after Chevy disappeared, a gift box arrived at the front door addressed to Crystal. Inside, she found valentine candy scattered about and a garbage bag containing Chevy's head.

The suspect is a man whom Crystal had once befriended.

"He really has no one," she said. "He has no friends. I felt sorry for him."

He wanted Crystal to be his girlfriend. But she didn't want that, she said.

The family immediately suspected him in Chevy's killing. "I didn't know what he would do next," Shirley Brown said. "I wanted to stay awake in case someone came in."

Chevy's body was found in a park, and homicide investigators took on the case because of the implied threat against Crystal. She said she was more scared for her new puppy than for herself.

But she said that she tired of the ache inside as she lay in bed each night, imagining what Chevy's last moments were like.

"That dog was her heart and soul," said Shirley Brown. "She's never related to people. She's been so hurt by others ... Her father abandoned her. Her mother has had problems with drugs."

Said Crystal: "I was always the delinquent child that nobody wanted or liked. I didn't have friends. I lived in a tough neighborhood. I really didn't want to be a tough person. But I made my own problems."

Crystal went through a drug phase, and has been diagnosed with depression. She has bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder, her grandmother said. Crystal "had so many problems that people didn't want her around," Shirley Brown said. "She just needed a push in the right direction and a firm hand."

And Crystal needed Chevy.

"He and I had a lot of history together," Crystal said. "He listened. And he never stopped listening."

Losing Chevy turned her world inside out. Life was harsh; people seemed cruel.

But sitting at the kitchen table this week, Crystal opened stacks of cards, letters and gifts sent from people around the world.

The story was covered on radio and TV and in newspapers across the country. The TV show "America's Most Wanted" posted the case on its website, the first time in recent memory that it had featured a crime against a dog.

"It was cruel and beyond the unusual," said Christopher Brown, the show's managing editor. And anyone capable of such a crime might easily turn next time to people, he said.

A $2,500 reward offered by the Humane Society of the United States quickly mushroomed with donations, growing to $20,000.

"This by far was the biggest response to a reward that we've initiated," said Dale Bartlett, the Humane Society's deputy manager for animal cruelty issues.

Reading the letters and opening packages sent from people around the country and from as far as Australia -- heartfelt notes, photos of pets, dog toys and treats, gift cards and checks -- Crystal and Shirley Brown were touched by the kindness of strangers.

"I don't think everybody is bad anymore," Crystal said. "This is so amazing. ... It makes me feel inspired. People can make a difference."
Source: Star-Tribune - March 22, 2007
Update posted on Mar 23, 2007 - 5:14AM 
A financial reward for information in the death and beheading of a teenage girl's dog has been raised to $10,000.

The Humane Society first offered $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case. The agency now says it is increasing the amount after getting pledges and donations from the public.

The Australian Shepherd, Chevy, belonged to a 17-year-old St. Paul girl. About two weeks ago, she opened a gift-wrapped box that had been sent to her house and found the dog's head inside.

Homicide police are investigating because of the implied threat to the family.

Police have said the motive is unclear and that the suspect likely knew the family.
Source: Winona Daily News - March 17, 2007
Update posted on Mar 17, 2007 - 11:26AM 
The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest and conviction. On Thursday, after receiving calls from outraged citizens, the group created a "Justice for Chevy Fund" on its Web site, where people can make donations. To learn more about the Justice for Chevy fund, visit the HSUS website at https://secure.hsus.org/01/justiceforchevy.
Source: HSUS Press Release - March 15, 2007
Update posted on Mar 17, 2007 - 1:13AM 

References


« More cases in Ramsey County, MN

Note: Classifications and other fields should not be used to determine what specific charges the suspect is facing or was convicted of - they are for research and statistical purposes only. The case report and subsequent updates outline the specific charges. Charges referenced in the original case report may be modified throughout the course of the investigation or trial, so case updates, when available, should always be considered the most accurate reflection of charges.

For more information regarding classifications and usage of this database, please visit the database notes and disclaimer.