Olathe A Wichita man who killed his girlfriend's dog and then hid the body in the ceiling of her Shawnee home will spend at least 120 days in jail, a Johnson County judge has ruled.
Mathew John Hodges, 21, also must pay restitution, undergo a mental evaluation and perform 50 hours of community service for the July 2007 incident.
Hodges was at his girlfriend's home to meet her parents when he saw Duchess the family dog trounce a kitten in the family's finished basement, where he was going to bed. He got mad and killed the dog, then stuffed it up behind ceiling tiles.
Hodges said nothing while the distraught family searched for the 12-year-old beagle mix. Family members couldn't figure out how the dog got out of the house, since all of the doors were locked.
Days later, they found the dog's body because of the smell.
"People are very attached to their animals - I hope you appreciate that," Johnson County District Judge James Franklin Davis told Hodges on Friday during sentencing.
As part of his sentence, Hodges was ordered to have no contact with the girlfriend - who broke up with him - or her family. He was given the maximum one-year sentence, but will have to serve only 120 days and be on probation for a year.
Since the incident, the family has moved from the area.
Hodges' lawyer, John Boyd, said his client overreacted when he saw the dog attack the cat. Boyd said that if Hodges had confessed immediately, he would have spared the family a lot of anguish and probably would not have been charged.
"The cover-up is not only as bad as the crime," Boyd said, "it highlights the crime."