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Killer of six miniature horses appears in court again

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Results of the May 20 court appearance by the man who trespassed into a private stable and slaughtered six miniature show horses has been reported by The Australian. The perpetrator, Michael Martin John O’Connell, 50, appeared before the judge about his brutal slayings of six young show horses owned by Julie Jackson.

O’Connell resides in Australia in Middleton. He was charged with entering the horse barn at Clayton Bay illegally in December, 2013, and brutally slaughtering six miniature horses. He killed two colts and four fillies, all promising show horses and each around two years of age. The grisly scene and the butchered little horses were found by staff of the horse farm. See Rucki’s examiner story dated Dec. 23, 2013 - Grisly attack on miniature horses leaves six dead.

Earlier this year, in March, O’Connell appeared in Victor Harbor Magistrates Court. He was escorted by a security guard to the proceedings. At that time he pleaded guilty to “a single count of property damage.”

O’Connell made his appearance on Tuesday at the Adelaide Magistrates Court, arriving 45 minutes late for a set 11:30 a.m. hearing. He was not escorted this this appearance by a security guard. His court session resulted in an order to enter pleas next month to charges of aggravated trespass at the Clayton Bay horse stud. O’Connell was remanded on continuing bail by presiding magistrate Bob Harrap.

The maximum penalty for damaging property is 10 years’ jail, while ill-treating an animal carries a maximum $50,000 fine or four years’ jail.

Prosecutors advised the court that all evidentiary matter has been submitted into the record.

Even though O’Connell admitted killing the miniature horses and pleaded guilty to a charge of property damage regarding the animals, he must still face trespassing allegations. It is not entirely clear whether O’Connell faces any animal cruelty charges.

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