Teen cattle shooter gets probation
A 14-year-old Eudora boy accused of aggravated assault and cruelty to animals received probation Monday in Douglas Country juvenile court.
The youth previously pled no contest to charges that he participated in the shooting of 11 head of cattle on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 of last year. He also pled no contest to felony juvenile charges that he held a gun to the head of an 11-year-old Eudora boy.
By pleading no contest, the boy agreed not to fight the accusations and the felony will remain on his permanent record.
A 13-year-old Eudora boy was also charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals. His hearings have been closed to the public.
Prosecuting Attorney Bethany Daniels said the 14-year-old was sentenced to Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP). The ISP program is supervised by Douglas County Youth Services. The boy will remain on the program until he is approved for released. Under the terms of his probation, he is to stay out of trouble, perform community service and go to school.
"It's a lot more intensive," Daniels said. "It's like community corrections on the outside."
In addition, the boy will undergo counseling provided by the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center until counselors approve his release. The boy was told at a previous hearing that he would be ordered to pay restitution for cattle that died or were injured and for veterinarian bills. Daniels said a date for that hearing has not yet been set.
At Monday's hearing, the mother of the 11-year-old victim said her sense of security in Eudora was shaken after the incident. She said her son has had nightmares since the incident and is currently undergoing counseling.
"I'm just thankful that my son is alive today," she said in tears. "We want to be able to reside in Eudora but we're afraid to go out at night."
During the shootings, three registered longhorn cattle were killed and three others were wounded. They were valued at $4,500 and belonged to Ron and Julia DeMott, Eudora. The shootings took place between the 1400 and 1500 block of Cedar Street.
Julia DeMott expressed her feelings at the hearing.
"It is truly unbelievable that anyone could be so cruel," DeMott said, addressing the 14-year-old. "We are just truly grateful it was cattle killed and not people."
Two registered Black Angus cows, owned by Eudora resident Randy Gorden, were also killed during the incident. Also, three of Gorden's cows were wounded. The cows were valued at $4,500. Those shootings took place in the 1400 block of Fir Street.
Faith Gorden said her son, Josh, took pride in caring for the cattle. She also read a statement at the hearing, expressing her feelings toward the 14-year-old.
"You have violated the sense of security we had living in a small community," Gorden said. "If you had been taught to love your neighbor as yourself, this wouldn't have happened.
"We want to sleep at night not worrying if the kids are home or if the guns are locked up."