It took a jury in Richmond County, Ga., just 15 minutes to convict an Augusta man for crimes against a war hero, reported Friday's Augusta Chronicle.
On Thursday, 33-year-old Joshua Patterson was given the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison for burglary and aggravated animal cruelty for the crime which took place in May 2012.
Kinga Kiss-Johnson, a veteran who was severely injured in Afghanistan, nearly lost her service dog, "Balto," during the burglary; the Labrador retriever was shot twice during the home invasion.
Judge Daniel J. Craig, who presided over the trial, had little pity for Patterson, who pleaded for "mercy."
Just months before the violent break in at Kiss-Johnson's Gardner Street home, Patterson broke into a grocery store and caused $100,000 in damage. The grocery store break in, coupled with the burglary and shooting of Balto, resulted in the judge's decision to dole out the maximum sentence, which consists of 20 years for the burglary and five years for the animal cruelty, to be served consecutively.
Balto has since recovered from his gunshot wounds, though he is reported to have physical limitations which prevent him from aiding Kiss-Johnson as a service dog for long periods of time.
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