Animal cruelty trial in Chattanooga ends in hung jury

Animal cruelty trial in Chattanooga ends in hung jury

May 11th, 2011 by Todd South in Local - Breaking News

Roger Dale Beason watches jury selection Monday in Judge Don Poole's courtroom as his trial begins on charges of aggravated cruelty to animals. Sitting with him is defense attorney Erinn O'Leary. Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press May 9, 2011

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A Hamilton County jury could not reach a verdict in the aggravated animal cruelty trial of a 36-year-old Whitwell man.

The "hung jury" deliberated for nearly three and a half hours in the two-day trial of Roger Dale Beason.

The 36-year-old Whitwell man was on trial on charges of aggravated animal cruelty for shooting a dog in the snout with an arrow.

Criminal Court Judge Don Poole dismissed the jury, which was split 7 to 5. Seven jurors favored a not guilty verdict, five thought Beason was guilty.

He scheduled a June 1 hearing for the case to determine what will happen next. Beason could face another trial or the prosecutor and his defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Erinn O'Leary, could reach a plea agreement.

Assistant District Attorney General Lance Pope said he thanked those involved in the case but said the district attorney's office has not decided if attorneys will re-try Beason.

Beason testified Tuesday that he was terrified as he left work and heard the dog growling beneath his pickup truck. He then ran around the side of the truck, grabbed his compound bow and fired an arrow into the dog.

The dog was later euthanized due to its injuries.

Co-workers and animal rescue officers testified Tuesday that the stray, black German Shepherd mix was both friendly and aggressive.

For complete details see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.