Case Snapshot
Case ID: 16421
Classification: Mutilation/Torture, Beating, Hanging
Animal: rabbit (pet)
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Judge(s): Michael Ripps

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

Tuesday, Jun 8, 2010

County: Berkshire

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 1 files available

Defendant/Suspect: Wayne Brackett, Jr.

Case Updates: 5 update(s) available

Police in North Adams are looking for a man they say mutilated and killed five pet rabbits after breaking into a construction company.

Police say the suspect, seen on video surveillance, appeared to fly into a rage after he couldn't get into a truck at Berkshire County Construction on Tuesday night. He then apparently took his anger out on the rabbits, beating them, ripping off their ears and tails with his hands, and hanging one by a chain.

Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morocco tells The Transcript of North Adams the attack was one of the most horrific things he's seen in his career.

Company co-owner Tracy Duquette called the crime "meaningless and psychotic."

The suspect faces charges including malicious destruction of the animals, and cruelty to animals.

The suspect is described as a white male, 16 to 20 years old, 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighing 140-160 pounds and of slight build. He was wearing black-and-gray camouflage pants, a dark hooded sweatshirt and a red-and-white baseball cap.

Anyone with information regarding the crime is asked to call Det. Ron Ciepiela or Officer Zachary Wood at the North Adams station, (413) 664-4945, or Sgt. Roy Sutton of MSPCA law enforcement in Pittsfield, (413) 448-6046 or (800) 628-5808.

Case Updates

A North Adams man was sentenced to four years in jail Friday after admitting to mutilating a young girl's five pet rabbits.

Wayne Brackett, 23, of North Adams, pleaded guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court to five counts of animal cruelty, five counts of malicious killing of an animal, one count of breaking and entering at night and one count of malicious destruction of property.

Judge Michael Ripps sentenced Brackett to concurrent two-year sentences in the Berkshire County House of Correction on the cruelty to animal charges and two-year concurrent sentences to be served on and after the first sentence on the breaking and entering and destruction charges.

Brackett also was placed on two years' probation on the charges of killing an animal on the condition he have no contact with the victims, undergo drug and alcohol screening and perform 100 hours of community service work during the probationary period.

"The rabbits in this case suffered horrific and repeated acts of cruelty," Peter Gollub, Massachusetts Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals director of Law Enforcement, told WCVB-TV in Boston. "We wish to express our gratitude to the courts for recognizing the gravity of the crimes by imposing appropriate sentences."

Police say Brackett, seen on video surveillance, appeared to fly into a rage after he couldn't break into a truck at Berkshire County Construction. He then apparently took his anger out on the rabbits, beating them, ripping off their ears and tails with his hands, and hanging one by a chain. Although police only found the bodies of five rabbits, another nine are missing and presumed dead.

"Regrettably, the savagery repeatedly inflicted upon the helpless rabbits exceeds any brutality I've seen in quite a while," Gollub told the TV station. "These animals posed no threat to Mr. Brackett, and in fact some rabbits even curiously approached him. How anyone could systematically and completely ignore the suffering of these unsuspecting creatures dumbfounds me as much as it angers me."

According to the North Adams Daily Transcript, John Duquette Sr., owner of Berkshire County Construction, gave a victim-impact statement in court Friday. When he spoke, Brackett, who had stood behind a glass partition that separates prisoners from the courtroom, sat down so he could not be seen by Duquette.

"The animals that were killed belonged to me and my granddaughter," Duquette said. "To hear it all again today is just overwhelming. My daughter-in-law couldn't even be here today because of it. Mr. Brackett says he has no recollection of the event. Well, there's 40 minutes of footage of it happening, and he has plenty of time to see it. I think it would do him some good to see it."

According to the Transcript, Brackett's attorney, Richard LeBlanc, said his client was pleading guilty against LeBlanc's advice because he wanted to end the case.

"Because of some irresponsible comments from members of the media, Mr. Brackett's family has received threats against them," LeBlanc said. "They've received death threats; they've received hate mail directed at them. As a result, Mr. Brackett did not want this to be a drawn out thing. It's a shame that other people have decided to visit this on his family for something that is not their responsibility."
Source: MassLive - Sept 10, 2010
Update posted on Sep 12, 2010 - 2:06PM 
A Massachusetts man accused of killing a little girl's pet rabbits has appeared in court.

23-year old Wayne Brackett, Jr. had a pre-trial hearing Wednesday morning.

Police say Brackett broke into a construction company and then tortured and killed the pets, which were kept in a pen on the business' grounds.

Brackett faces five counts of animal abuse and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Another pre-trial date has been set for next month.
Source: WTEN - July 7, 2010
Update posted on Jul 8, 2010 - 9:26AM 
Wayne Brackett Sr. never thought his son was capable of viciously stabbing and ripping apart five rabbits, but police say this video is proof.

It wasn't long before police came to the home Bracket shares with his 23 year old son, asking questions.

“When I saw the picture in the paper I did question him to see if it was him, and he said no,” said Brackett.

Brackett says Wayne Jr. became withdrawn after his sister died and he turned to alcohol.

“That's the only thing he ever really talked about was his sister.”

Bracket insists his son has never been violent, he says he's still in shock and the sobering reality, starting to set in.

“He's old enough to know what's right and what's wrong but I just think with his sister on his mind 24/7 the kid never gets that off his mind.”

Tracy Duquette, the mother of the 6 year old who lost her pets, says that's no excuse.

“I just don't know how you could do that, they were just so sweet.”

Brackett too, is disturbed. “I don't know what to say, I’m very sorry it happened. He is my son and I love him.”

Wayne Brackett Jr. will be arraigned on several animal cruelty charges.
Source: WWLP - June 12, 2010
Update posted on Jul 8, 2010 - 9:31AM 
An expressionless Wayne Brackett Jr. stood behind a protective glass enclosure as he was arraigned on numerous felony counts of animal cruelty. A public defender entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Northern Berkshire District Court Judge Rita Koenigs ordered Brackett held on $25,000 cash bail.

Last Tuesday night, North Adams Police responded to a break-in alarm at Berkshire County Construction. That's where they found five mutilated pet rabbits belonging to the six-year-old daughter of the company's owners.

"Because he can't get into a car, he does such violence to these animals. What can he do to a person who really gives him a reason? It's scary thinking of that," said Tracy Duquette.

A video surveillance tape showed Brackett trying to break into a truck at the Duquette's construction business. He reportedly becomes visibly enraged when he's unable to gain access to the truck and knocks over a cage housing over a dozen rabbits. The camera caught every second of Brackett's brutal attack.

Outside the courtroom Monday morning, his mother was apologetic and said that her son needs help.

"He's been an animal lover for life. He was under the influence of alcohol and pills. He's hurting. There was no excuse for this. We understand their rage. We're horrified that he was capable of that. But the Wayne that we know was not capable of that," said Joanne Brackett.

"They seem pretty sincere. Apologetic for their son," John Duquette said.

"Do you accept their apology?" our reporter asked.

"Yes," Duquette replied.

Although the Duquette's accept the Brackett's apology, they went on to say that there is never an excuse for animal cruelty.

"I've been under the influence of alcohol too. I don't think of doing anything like this. I don't think of breaking into buildings or destroying people's property and animals," Duquette said.

Brackett is no stranger to law enforcement in North Adams. In fact, according to police records, he has a lengthy history of breaking and entering and larceny charges. He served some time in the Berkshire County House of Correction.

When bail was set, it was set without prejudice, which simply means his lawyer will be able to argue it at a later date. Before all was said and done, a pre-trial hearing was scheduled for July 7.
Source: YNN - June 15, 2010
Update posted on Jul 8, 2010 - 9:26AM 
Authorities say a 23-year-old North Adams man has been arrested in the mutilations and killings of five pet rabbits.

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Friday its law enforcement division and North Adams police arrested Wayne C. Brackett on charges including animal cruelty and killing an animal.

Police say an attacker broke into Berkshire County Construction on Tuesday and killed five of 17 rabbits being raised by the owners' 6-year-old daughter. Nine rabbits are unaccounted for. The MSPCA has said a knife was used and one animal was stabbed several times.

MSPCA Sgt. Roy Sutton said Friday's arrest followed a review of surveillance tape.

A woman who answered at a telephone listing for Brackett's family declined comment.

Authorities didn't know if Brackett has an attorney.
Source: MassLive - June 11, 2010
Update posted on Jul 8, 2010 - 9:25AM 


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