Grand Junction – Suspect in dog dragging death pleads not guilty
January 27, 2010
A Fruita man pleaded not guilty Wednesday in the alleged dog dragging death of “Buddy” at the Colorado National Monument in December.
Steven Clay Romero, 37, is charged with aggravated animal cruelty. He faces up to three years in federal prison and a fine of $100,000 if convicted of the charge.
Romero appeared Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Laird Milburn in federal court at the Wayne N. Aspinall Building in Grand Junction.
His next court hearing is at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 4 in Denver.
Romero, and his sister, Melissa Marie Lockhart, 32, of Fruita, were indicted this week by a federal grand jury.
Lockhart stands accused of misprision of felony, or failing to report knowledge of a felony.
She faces up to three years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted as charged. An arrest warrant was issued for Lockhart, who remains at-large.
The indictment alleges that Romero “did knowingly torture, needlessly mutilate, and needlessly kill an animal, that is, ‘Buddy’ the dog, by dragging the dog behind a vehicle with a rope tied to the dog’s neck until the dog was dead.”
The incident occurred Dec. 30.