A Menifee man who clubbed a Chihuahua to death when the dog ran onto his property pleaded guilty today to felony animal cruelty and was immediately sentenced to home detention and three years probation.
Larry Edward Jaurequi, 59, killed the six-pound canine, Lily, by striking her with a golf club in January.
In a plea deal negotiated with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, Jaurequi admitted committing an act of animal cruelty and using a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony. In turn, prosecutors dropped a separate sentence-enhancing weapon allegation.
Superior Court Judge Helios Hernandez sentenced Jaurequi to two months home detention, as well as the 36 months probation. The judge also ordered him to pay $2,120 in restitution to Lily's owner, Barbara Hitchman, and to never have contact with her.
According to D.A.'s office spokesman John Hall, the Menifee woman was consulted before prosecutors offering the plea deal to Jaurequi. Had he been convicted by a trial jury, the defendant could have faced up to four years behind bars.
Lily and a poodle mix got loose on the afternoon of Jan. 26 and wandered onto a cul-de-sac in the 28100 block of Summitrose Drive, near High Ridge Circle.
The defendant saw the dog and, with a golf club in hand, positioned himself next to the animal, according to sheriff's Sgt. Sergio Rodriguez.
"Without reason or cause, the male swung the club against the Chihuahua as if driving a golf ball off its tee," the sergeant said earlier. "The force of the swing sent the animal flying through the air. The suspect was preparing for a second swing when he was stopped by people that just witnessed his acts."
Hitchman arrived seconds after the attack and confronted Jaureqi.
"I told him, 'You're insane. You're psycho. You need to be locked away,"' she said in a televised interview. "He said, 'Your dog shouldn't be loose anyway."'
Lily died from catastrophic internal injuries on a veterinarian's table a short time later.