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Fmr. assistant fire chief guilty in puppy death

January 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A verdict was handed down Tuesday in the beating death of a puppy. The defendant, a former assistant chief with the L.A. County Fire Department, was found guilty, and now he faces prison time.A verdict that could send 55-year-old Glynn Johnson to prison was greeted by a jubilant reaction. A jury found that he used a dangerous weapon, a 12-pound rock, to beat a neighbor's pet. Karley, a 6-month-old German Shepherd, belonged to the Toole family.

"The first thing that went through my mind was Karley, just, this one is for you. We fought a long time, but it was worth it," said Shelley Toole.

Johnson is a retired L.A. County firefighter who rose to the rank of assistant chief. He claimed all along that striking the dog was self-defense.

"I have personally rescued many dogs from peril as a firefighter and would never ever harm a dog that posed no danger to me," said Johnson.

Yet jurors say that the evidence was clear, especially a veterinarian's testimony about Karly's multiple injuries.

"On the head, on the back, they were on all sides, and when you have beatings on all sides and you have that much damage of all the teeth on all sides and in front of the mouth, that is kind of compelling with it was more than just, 'Get off of me,'" said juror Julie Munyer.

The Tooles say Johnson had a history of harassing them.

"Threatening to do bodily harm to my children, threatening to do bodily harm to us," said Jeff Toole.

"Mr. Johnson had a very strange and sordid history in his neighborhood. There is a lot of evidence the jury didn't get to hear, which gives a strong indication that he has committed some other offenses which are deeply disturbing," said prosecutor Will Robinson.

Johnson left the courthouse through a side door. He remains free on bond, but he will be back in court March 8 for sentencing. He could get as many as four years behind bars.

"I think that the appropriate action would be to call the police if you have a problem with your neighbor, instead of doing what Mr. Johnson did," explained Robinson.