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|Prosecutor(s):|| Steve Hiller|
|Defense(s): ||Stephen M. Adams|
|Judge(s):|| Melinda Morris| CONVICTED: Was justice served?
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Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010County: Washtenaw
Charges: Felony CTA
Defendant/Suspect: Christopher Alan Turpen
Case Updates: 3 update(s) available
A Jackson man will face an animal cruelty charge for allegedly shaking his pet parrot Tuesday in Ann Arbor.
Christopher Alan Turpen, 49, was arraigned in front of a Washtenaw County magistrate on Tuesday, according to county District Court records. He was charged with killing or torturing an animal and delivering or manufacturing marijuana.
The animal cruelty charge is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of one year, a $5,000 fine or 500 hours of community service.
Ann Arbor police arrested Turpen Tuesday night in the 1000 block of South Main Street after witnesses reported a man attacking an animal.
The bird had redness in one of its eyes, bald spots on the back of its head and neck and was limping, said Lt. Renee Bush said. Turpen, who carried the bird in his backpack, told police he was "disciplining and training" it, Bush said.
The bird is recovering after being turned over to a rescue volunteer.
The magistrate set bail at $5,000. Turpen is still in the Washtenaw County Jail, according to court records. He is next due in court Wednesday.
Turpen is charged with possession of methamphetamine and marijuana and assaulting, resisting and obstructing police in Jackson County. He has a preliminary exam in that matter scheduled for Oct. 5.
He has pleaded guilty to several Jackson County crimes in the past including operating while intoxicating, retail fraud and fishing without a license.
|A Jackson man convicted of violently shaking his mother's pet parrot on an Ann Arbor street in September was sentenced to jail today for torturing an animal.|
Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Melinda Morris sentenced Christopher Alan Turpen today to 10 months in jail with credit for 101 days served.
Turpen's lawyer, assistant public defender Stephen M. Adams declined to comment on the sentencing.
The Amazon parrot named Labamba is currently with the Humane Society of Huron Valley.
Adams said a sentencing agreement called for Turpen, 50, to receive no probation.
Matt Schaecher, supervisor of cruelty and rescue at the Humane Society of Huron Valley, told AnnArbor.com in February, it is unknown whether the bird is male or female, as the only way to determine a parrot's sex is through a blood test.
As of late February, Labamba continued to live in Schaecher's office.
Ann Arbor police told AnnArbor.com in September that Turpen, who kept the Amazon parrot in his backpack, shook it violently in the 1000 block of South Main Street as its feathers flew, causing enough commotion for three witnesses to call 911. Officers arrested Turpen on Main Street at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 21 and found an unspecified quantity of marijuana in his backpack, Ann Arbor police Lt. Mark St. Amour said.
Steve Hiller, Washtenaw County chief deputy assistant prosecutor, told AnnArbor.com last month that a controlled substance charge against Turpen was dismissed at his preliminary hearing Oct. 13.
Turpen told police he was disciplining and training the bird. Police said the parrot fought back, leaving one of Turpen's thumbs scratched and bloodied.
Ypsilanti Township residents Marie Keehl and Tom Pokryfky, interested observers of the case, told AnnArbor.com last month they have rescued a number of pets, including a type of parrot called an umbrella cockatoo.
They say parrots are intelligent and have the ability to remember things in the long term.
"That bird will never forget (Turpen)," said Pokryfky. "(He) will remember that abuse forever."
Pokryfky, who attended the sentencing hearing today, said he thought Turpen should have received both a jail sentence and probation.
"It wasn't stiff enough, it was way too lenient," he said after the sentencing.
Pokryfky also expressed concern for the bird and its permanent living situation.
In February, Schaecher told AnnArbor.com, if Turpen is convicted, the humane society will seek permanent custody of the bird and attempt to adopt it out. He also said Labamba occasionally favors one of its legs, and the injury near its eye has healed.
Adams said today that Turpen would like to see the bird returned to his mother.
Schaecher could not immediately be reached for comment today and it is unclear whether the humane society still plans to seek permanent custody of the bird.
|Source: annarbor.com - Mar 28, 2011|
Update posted on Apr 29, 2011 - 1:26PM
|A parrot that made national headlines after investigators say it was violently shaken on an Ann Arbor street in September is doing well, animal cruelty investigators say.|
The Amazon parrot continues to favor its right leg, but the swelling and bruising around its right eye has gone away, said Matt Schaecher, supervisor of cruelty and rescue at the Humane Society of Huron Valley.
"It looks a lot better," Schaecher said. "When we first got it, it looked a little disheveled."
The parrot is being held at the Humane Society as its owner, 49-year-old Christopher Alan Turpen of Jackson, awaits trial on an animal torture charge. Turpen is out on bond, but could not be reached for comment Monday. He is prohibited from having an animal in his custody while the case is pending, court records show.
Ann Arbor police say Turpen, who kept the parrot in his backpack, shook it violently as its feathers flew, causing enough commotion for three witnesses to call 911 on Sept. 21. Officers arrested Turpen at 9 p.m. on South Main Street, records show.
According to Schaecher, Turpen wants the parrot back.
"We were going to try and get him to surrender the bird, but I don't think he's going to do that," Schaecher said.
If Turpen is convicted, the Humane Society will seek permanent custody of the bird and attempt to adopt it out, Schaecher said. For the time being, the parrot has been living in Schaecher's office, spending much of the day looking at itself in a mirror in its cage, Schaecher said.
It occasionally blurts out "what" and sometimes says "good-bye" as someone leaves the room, Schaecher said.
A transcript of an Oct. 13 preliminary hearing in the case provides new details about what witnesses say occurred that night. At the conclusion of that hearing, 14B District Judge Charles Pope found there was enough evidence for Turpen to stand trial.
Christina Roselle testified she stopped at a stop light at the intersection of Pauline Boulevard and South Seventh Street when she saw something moving out of the corner of her eye. A man was holding what appeared to be a bird in his left hand as he made a swinging motion with his right hand and hit it an estimated 6 to 8 times, she testified. At one point, she said, Turpen had two hands on the bird.
"It looked to me like he was, you know, twisting, perhaps, you know, trying to break his neck, twist his neck," she said.
Turpen was yelling at the bird, she testified, as it was screaming loudly, ""Awww! Awww!"
"I thought it was obviously a call of distress," she said. She drove two blocks home and called 911.
Ann Arbor police Officer Christopher Wooley, who responded that night to a report of a bird being abused, said his partner pulled the patrol car within three feet of Turpen on South Main Street. Wooley saw the bird's feathers fly as Turpen was "slamming it in a downward fashion."
"And I couldn't tell if he was like hitting it up against his leg or the ground," Wooley testified.
According to Wooley, when officers asked Turpen what he was doing, he said, "he was disciplining the bird. It was a new bird and it needed to be disciplined."
Dr. Stacey Weinrick, a veterinarian at the Humane Society of Huron Valley, examined the parrot three days after the alleged attack. Its right eye was swollen, the right side of its face was bruised, it had bruising and swelling around its lower jaw and a cut on its left wing, she testified. Weinrick gave it anti-inflammatory medication.
The bruising on the right side of its face indicated some sort of "blunt trauma," she testified. Asked by a prosecutor how violently shaking the bird would affect it, Weinrick testified it would subject it to "incredible stress."
"Birds are very, very sensitive to stress," she testified.
She later said, "You know, it's not unusual for birds to â€" if they are in a very stressful situation, to suffer cardiac arrest."
Turpen is scheduled to appear Nov. 22 for a pretrial hearing in front of Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Melinda Morris. If convicted of the felony animal torture charge, Turpen faces up to four years in prison.
|Source: annarbor.com - Nov 2, 2010|
Update posted on Nov 2, 2010 - 8:52PM
|A Jackson man accused of violently shaking his pet parrot Tuesday on an Ann Arbor street has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for third-offense domestic violence and assault with a dangerous weapon, Washtenaw County court records show.|
Christopher Alan Turpen, 49, was arraigned Wednesday at the Washtenaw County Jail on charges of animal torture and delivery of marijuana.
Turpen can't be released because he is being held for authorities in Sarasota, Florida, who have a warrant charging him with assault and battery, jail officials said this afternoon.
Ann Arbor police say Turpen, who kept the parrot in his backpack, shook it violently as its feathers flew, causing enough commotion for three witnesses to call 911. Officers arrested Turpen on South Main Street at 9:30 p.m. and found an unspecified quantity of marijuana in his backpack, Lt. Mark St. Amour said.
Turpen claimed he was disciplining and training the bird, police said. According to police, the parrot fought back, leaving one of Turpen's thumbs scratched up and bloodied.
The bird was turned over to an animal rescue volunteer and was examined by a veterinarian. It had a cut on its head and bruising on one leg, around an eye and on its wings, authorities said.
Records show Turpen lived "on and off" for 15 years with his three children and their mother, including in northeast Ann Arbor during the 1990s. He worked as a roofer until he fell off a roof and was injured, records show.
According to court documents, Turpen drank heavily and has a history of being physically abusive to the mother of his children. She twice obtained personal protection orders against him.
After their relationship fell apart in the late 1990s, records show she began dating another man, and Turpen didn't approve. Turpen was convicted in 2003 of assault with a dangerous weapon after he confronted the man outside an apartment complex in northeast Ann Arbor and cut him in the nose with a knife, records show.
Turpen's criminal record dates back at least 15 years, including other convictions for intimidating a witness, first-degree retail fraud, second-degree retail fraud and violating probation.
Records show that in 1999, a Superior Township woman obtained a personal protection order against Turpen after she asked him on a date to her class reunion. According to a letter she wrote in her application for that order, Turpen drank heavily at the reunion and "leaned over me and bit me on the shoulder and above my left breast."
She wrote Turpen was looking for someone to beat up and then harassed a deejay, swearing at her when she attempted to calm him down. She called 911 and police responded, records show.
Turpen is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 29.
|Source: annarbor.com - Sep 23, 2010|
Update posted on Nov 2, 2010 - 8:46PM
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