On March 22, 2002, former Sing Sing prison guard Ronald Hunlock, 47, was given a one year sentence after being convicted of five counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and one count of attempted aggravated cruelty to animals.
The convictions stemmed from an incident in March 2001 when Hunlock discovered a litter of five newborn kittens and one adult cat while he was searching a prisoner's cell.
Hunlock had ordered the prisoner to place the cats in a box. However, the prisoner refused and Hunlock took the box to the prison trash compactor and crushed all five kittens to death. The mother cat escaped by jumping out of the compactor just before her litter was killed.
When Hunlock was first charged and arraigned in this case, his escort out of the courtroom consisted of several out-of-uniform fellow prison guards, who were said to completely surround Hunlock "like rugby players." Hunlock was rendered nearly invisible to the peaceful animal rights protesters who were demonstrating outside the courthouse.
The protesters, organized by In Defense of Animals, carried signs but did not appear threatening. They simply stepped aside and let Hunlock's entourage pass.
"Can you imagine the suffering these little kittens went through?" asked Barbara Stago, In Defense of Animal's northeast director. "And it's really scary that this is a man who had control over human beings."
Meanwhile, Paul Cote, 35, received a three month sentence for kicking a mentally ill prisoner so severely that he went into a coma and later died.
Cote was sentenced on July 13, 2001 after a jury of six men and six women ruled that while he didn't intend to seriously injure the prisoner, Zoran Teodorovic, he did recklessly cause his injuries by repeatedly kicking him in the head during the October 10, 2000 altercation.
The incident began when another guard ordered Teodorovic to enter his cell. Teodorovic refused and allegedly punched the guard in the face. That's when Cote saw the altercation and sprinted into the cellblock and began immediately kicking Teodorovic in the jaw. Witnesses said they saw Cote stomping on the victim's head.
Assistant Westchester County District Attorney Robert Neary said that Cote had crossed the line from "correction officer to criminal" when he attacked Teodorovic. He alleged that Cote used the situation as a "golden opportunity for cellblock justice."
One is left wondering where the advocates for prisoners and the mentally ill were when Cote was arraigned.
Sources: The Journal News ,Associated Press ,USA Today ,Watertown (NY) Daily Times
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