Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19572
Classification: Beating
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Thursday, Mar 1, 2012

County: Kent

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Brandon Stephens

A 20-year-old Cedar Springs man allegedly beat his ex-girlfriend's dog to death in her kitchen and then tried to make it look like the dog was run over by a car.

Brandon Stephens not only faces home invasion and animal torture charges, he's been ordered to stay away from his ex-girlfriend, Chelsea Potter, and her family.

The dog, an eight-year-old Yorkshire terrier-Pomeranian mix named Xena, weighed seven pounds.

"She was a member of our family," said Kim Potter, Chelsea Potter's mother. "Very sweet and smart. Everybody loved her: friends and family, everything. A very special girl."

Stephens and Potter broke up about three weeks before the Feb. 20 incident, court documents reveal. It's alleged Stephens broke into her home in the 13000 block of Pine Lake Avenue NE and beat the dog to death. He then tried to make it look as if the dog was hit by a vehicle near 16 Mile Road in Kent County.

Kim Potter told 24 Hour News 8 that Stephens initially said he was not involved in the crime. She said he later changed his story and told police he did break into the home but only to return something.

Court files show Stephens eventually admitted to killing the dog, but said it was an accident.

Kim Potter told 24 Hour News 8 she believes Stephens broke into the home and when Xena recognized him, he "flipped out" and "beat her to death."

"It didn't have to happen," said Kim Potter. "If he had been hit by a car or died of an illness, that's still really sad, but this is different."

Kim Potter described the scene her family came home to as a "massacre."

She said her daughter was the first person to notice Xena's lifeless body lying in the street in front of the family home.

At first, they thought the dog had gotten out of the house somehow and had been hit by a car -- then they went in the home and saw an "incredibly horrifying" scene.

"It's almost like it's a horror movie. It's not like this could actually ever happen to anybody," said Kim Potter. "There was blood all over the kitchen."

Kim Potter said it looked like someone had tried, unsuccessfully, to clean up the blood.

"I want him to pay because he did this and then tried to cover up and he lied," said Potter. "There's something wrong with somebody who could do that. There's something really wrong."

Chelsea asked for and received a personal protection order against Stephens.

In the petition for the PPO, she wrote about Xena's killing and said she feels "unsafe in [her] household" and she always feels like he's "watching in the windows or driving by."

Chelsea's mom Kim elaborated on that sentiment, saying that the family feels safer now that Stephens' bond will be revoked if he goes near them. Immediately after it happened, though, was a much different story.

"The kids couldn't sleep. They were sleeping out in the living room for weeks after it happened because they were scared," said Kim Potter.

If convicted, Stephens faces up to 15 years on the home invasion charge and four years on the animal torture charge.

"Pray that he gets what he got due to him," said Potter.


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