Franky, a Winter Harbor terrier-pug who was shot to death in 2018. FILE PHOTO

Chipman loses appeal in animal cruelty case

ELLSWORTH — A Steuben man has lost his appeal of an aggravated animal cruelty conviction in the 2018 shooting death of Franky, a Winter Harbor terrier-pug.

Justin Chipman, 25, had been free on bail waiting for a ruling on his appeal but reported to the Hancock County Jail Saturday. Chipman has a one-year prison sentence to the Maine Department of Corrections.

A judge issued a memorandum affirming Chipman’s conviction earlier this month.

Franky had belonged to Phil Torrey, a Winter Harbor lobsterman whom Chipman and a co-defendant, Nathan Burke, had worked for, according to police. Franky was killed in late August 2018, while Torrey and his family were out of town.

Burke’s case is still pending.

District Attorney Matt Foster said Burke is scheduled for a Jan. 4 docket call for trial. However, the prosecutor said jury trials can’t be held in Hancock County with the current COVID restrictions. So, unless Burke opts for a “bench trial” in which a judge hears the case and rules or his attorney Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth negotiates a plea arrangement, the case could take an unknown amount of time to be adjudicated.

The two men are accused of shooting the dog in the head and then wrapping his body in trash bags and putting it in a bay. The dog’s body washed ashore at the waterfront home of District Attorney Matt Foster.

Justice Robert Murray found Chipman guilty of aggravated animal cruelty along with burglary, theft, unauthorized use and criminal mischief after a trial that concluded on Nov. 14. 2019.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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