Archive for Monday, December 3, 2007

Man gets 30 days in jail for suffocating rabbit

December 3, 2007


A judge sentenced a Lawrence man this morning to serve probation and 30 days in jail for his conviction in an animal cruelty case.

Austin Newport, 23, was scheduled to report to the Douglas County Jail this morning to begin his sentence.

Newport had pleaded guilty Nov. 19 to a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge for attempting to suffocate a rabbit several times with a plastic bag on July 27, 2006. He owned the rabbit, Melvin, with a roommate, and the animal later died at a veterinary clinic.

"Austin found himself in a situation that spun out of control on him, and I don't think this is a bad person at all," defense attorney Jerry Wells said. "But he did something I'm thinking is a very foolish thing to do."

Newport nodded in agreement.

Douglas County District Judge Robert Fairchild's sentence followed the plea agreement Newport reached with Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson's office.

Branson has said the punishment follows the original felony charge, even though Newport was convicted of a misdemeanor.

He will serve 12 months probation with the 30 days in a jail as a condition. Newport will also have time to pay a $500 fine and $107 restitution to the roommate for the veterinary bills.

Newport will also undergo another psychiatric evaluation, and his underlying sentence is one year in jail.


das 10 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

BigPrune 10 years, 1 month ago

What about pest control companies? How do they rid pesky skunks they've removed? I heard it is customary to drown them.

Atalanta 10 years, 1 month ago


Great comment - presumptuous, not funny, and just plain stupid all in 3 sentences. Also, if you had bothered to read any of the archives of this article before commenting, you'd soon realize that the roommate who reported the incident is female.

a2thek 10 years, 1 month ago

Oh this is animal cruelity. Okay let's see I have seen guys out in the field hunting pheasant and quail and rabbit of course shoot a rabbit and turn its head in a circle and pull it off. I guess there is a difference though right. One is tame and the other is wild, I forgot.

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

ok Agnostick, usually you have very valid opinions, but come on, this time b3 is right! yes they guy should be punished but I remember a story about 4-5 years ago about a man here in lawrence who was convicted of child molestation, sodomy, and indecent liberties......the coward got 3 years PROBATION.......and the guy who got caught with a quarter ounce of weed, was sentenced to 5 years!!! WTF?? Im afraid this time I have to agree, dg county has its priorities all screwed up...but what do you expect....shady city council, shady judges and lawyers!

Atalanta 10 years, 1 month ago

Sound logic, logicsound04.
Thank you.

FormerCentralKansan 10 years, 1 month ago

We had pet rabbits when I was a kid(late 70s)and they always seemed extremely fragile. They also were extremely harmless and very very dependent on our care. I see nothing wrong with this idiot getting a little jail time for killing one. If this was a cat or dog, you people would be outraged. Look at the Michael Vick saga. Is a dog's life more valuable than a domesticated rabbit's?

OnlyTheOne 10 years, 1 month ago

What an unbelievable court system! Murderers, drug dealers and rapists get a severe tongue lashing and this guy goes to jail. America headed to Hell in a handbasket.

DGL 10 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Lulu 10 years, 1 month ago

This is the most heinious of crimes. This is the real kind of crime that law enforcement needs to concentrate on instead of concentrating on made up allegations against the law abiding, like George Tiller.

gerbilsniper 10 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

timetospeakup 10 years, 1 month ago

Yes, gerbilsniper is right. The roommate is a nutty, only anti-semite and probably the rabbit is better off without her

Michael Throop 10 years, 1 month ago

..and now, a comment from Bugs Bunny.....

"Of course you realize...this means WAR!"

ralphralph 10 years, 1 month ago

It's not abuse if you wear a plaid hat and refer to it as a "wascally wabbit." Otherwise, 30 days in the hole, so to speak.

Then again ... did someone say fricassee ??

Bud Stagg 10 years, 1 month ago

Drunk driving is a worse offense than this, you can harm a human. Most of those folks get a night in jail. Drunk drivers should get at least 30 days.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 1 month ago

On some loney level in Hades, there is a well-hung, 7-foot gay rabbit name Melvin waiting patiently for Austin Newport to arrive.

30-day jail sentence? Sounds pretty unimaginative judge.

cap10_insano 10 years, 1 month ago

Dirtylinen, You and the other Lawrence liberals are the problem. Your statement says it all. Probably why you choose lawrence. Rolling eyes.

bearded_gnome 10 years, 1 month ago

the best part is the mandated psych eval. the comments by the defense atty are just lame in this article. the guy knew what he was doing, and there wasn't a valid reason.

for one brief point on the space time continuum, I actually agree with Aggie...this on the punishment of this guy.

as to the comment about dUI's, yes, we are far too easy on DUI's and should confiscate a vehicle for the second DUI.

akt2 10 years, 1 month ago

The bunny killer probably had some abusive childhood or something. So for the rest of his life he can blame all of his bad choices on that. It won't hurt him to sit in jail for 30 days. Maybe he will get a clue.

Thats_messed_up 10 years, 1 month ago

With this guy being a KU student you would have thought it would have been a gerbil.

perkins 10 years, 1 month ago

I agree with Agnostick: "Thirty days sounds about right for a rabbit."

GretchenJP 10 years, 1 month ago

Silly rabbit. Tricks are for kids.

The rabbit killer is scum and should pay dearly.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 1 month ago

akt2 (Anonymous) says: The bunny killer probably had some abusive childhood or something.

I heard he surprised the family dog humping his mom's rabbit fur coat once, and that started the downhill spin. (if you can surprise a humping dog.....come to think of it, dogs probably could care less)

Bone777 10 years, 1 month ago

I think it was terrible that this guy strangled this rabbit, but what about all of those out there choking their poor innocent chickens....

50YearResident 10 years, 1 month ago

I hear it's only 14 days for swatting a fly............unless you can prove he really did crap on your pop can lid.

JoRight 10 years, 1 month ago

So, did we ever hear what this dude was doing? Was it he claimed he was going to eat it or something?

compmd 10 years, 1 month ago

"the guy who got caught with a quarter ounce of weed, was sentenced to 5 years!!!"

I'd like to see the statute outlining how possession of a quarter ounce of marijuana lands you a five year prison sentence. I'm a little rusty on my KSA, but I'm throwing the BS flag unless there's a citation, or the person in question had multiple prior convictions.

"Rapists, murders, and arsonists get off easy, kill a rabbit though and your ass is in the slammer."

Please show the class an example of a convicted rapist, murderer, or arsonist that had less than 30 days in prison or state hospital. Oh, and still have all their rights that otherwise would have been taken away as a result of a felony conviction. Mr. Newport was convicted of a misdemeanor.

Evan Ridenour 10 years, 1 month ago

To all of the people posting about how this sentence is absurd... how would you feel if someone tortured your dog or cat? That is exactly how this persons roommate probably felt. This guy wasn't sentenced for killing a random animal, he was sentenced for torturing someone elses pet. There IS a difference.

Now tell me 30 days in jail is too much.

Bone777 10 years, 1 month ago

Eride - I would exact my own justice on someone if they tortured my dog and probably even my cat. I have owned rabbits and they are nothing like either one of those. It would be better to compare it to a chicken, turkey, or other edible farm animal....

cap10_insano 10 years, 1 month ago

Rabbits are food. Whats the difference if I slit its throat and let it bleed out and if I sufficate it. It takes about the same amount of time. From what I originally read he was going to eat it? Regardless, it was food. Muskrat and beaver are trapped with leg hold traps. Set properly the leg hold will keep the animal submerged until it drowns. Its legal, furharvesting is a sport/hobby/business, the rabbit was treated more humanely than an animal harvested with a leg hold trap.

This is a waste of taxpayer money. What did it all cost? The court, the prosecutor, clerks, deputies, and now the cost of 30 days incarceration. What a stupid ruling, as a taxpayer we should all be outraged. It costs between $150 and $200 a day to hold an inmate. The court, and related legal fees lets say a minimum of 5,000 dollars, Jail is anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000, and who pays the bill? We do because fuzzy bunny is more important than a human being. We're talking over $10,000 for a stupid bunny that probably would've cost $25 to replace. Great job Douglas County and City of Lawrence, can I have another traffic circle.

The illegal alien that killed Amanda Bixby of Tonganoxie got a couple months probation. b3 has the best post on this thread.

Rationalanimal 10 years, 1 month ago

This is a retarded law. It is a rabbit. A rabbit. This illustrates the perverse logic associated with liberals. A man kills a rabbit and is sentenced to jail time and probation. However, if you split a fetus' skull in half in the waining days before delivery they will vehemently defend such practice on tenuous abstract moral grounds. It's the result of being confused for some reason between eggs and ducks as our dear socialist friend Eggnostick is.

cap10_insano 10 years, 1 month ago


That was..............................AWESOME!

Confrontation 10 years, 1 month ago

Anonymous user

Agnostick (Anonymous) says:

"Interesting links, Confrontation. I noticed they all have to do with the same crime: child molestation. Did you happen to procure them from the same web page?"

Actually, I was able to google and find all of those on separate pages. It just disgusts me that so little attention is paid to child molesters, but a dead bunny causes a riot in Lawrence.

cap10_insano 10 years, 1 month ago

Dirtylinen, Likewise, the rabbit 'murderer' should have been found guilty for destruction of private property. Value under $25 dollars, non-moving violation, pay the fine and restitution. Case closed.

Try to keep up.

Terry Jacobsen 10 years, 1 month ago

I don't care about the punishment, but this guy needs counseling. Anyone who would be so cruel to a helpless animal is too twisted for color tv. Better check him out, before he hurts another living thing.

Terry Jacobsen 10 years, 1 month ago

it is just a freaking rabbit, not a human being

Yeah, and you are just a blob of biological tissue that was allowed to grow in your mother's uterus until you became what you are today. Gurantee you that if this sicko is allowed to, he will eventually hurt a human being. This kind of cruelty comes from a very disturbed person.

compmd 10 years, 1 month ago

Thank you, DirtyLinen. clap Well put.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.