MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) - The judge who sentenced Timothy Cregg to the maximum penalty allowed for killing his puppy last fall was frustrated, and it showed in the courtroom.
Cregg pleaded guilty on June 5 to torturing or killing an animal. Judge James Graves sentenced him to 5 years probation and time served.
But Graves' frustration was evident.
Judge: "The concern is, how do we protect the community if you relapse?"
Cregg: "I take my medication."
Judge: "Well, what were you doing when you beat the puppy to death with a hammer?"
Cregg: "But the dog ruined so much stuff."
Judge: "I understand that maybe something else could ruin something else in your yard. That's my concern."
Graves also ordered Cregg to register as a sex offender because of a previous conviction in the 1980s, ordered mental health treatment, have no alcohol or drugs, and that he never have a pet.
"My concern is it seems difficult for the mental health community to keep your behavior totally under control ... I don't fault the mental health community that they cannot cure or control every mental illness; sometimes these problems are intractable," Graves said.
After the hearing, Cregg acknowledged he "was" on his meds when he killed his puppy -- though he admitted earlier he was drinking and smoking marijuana.
When he was asked why he thought his medications would keep him safe now, Cregg told 24 Hour News 8, "Well, I'm straight, I'm straight, I'm so straight I'm shaken up a little bit right now, but I got to go outside and walk my frustration off."
On Oct. 28, 2011 police went to Cregg's home in Muskegon and found the pit bull puppy severely injured but alive in the trash. An animal rescue crew tried to save the animal but could not and euthanized it.
Cregg told police he was upset because the dog chewed on his comforter. Prosecutors said Cregg hit the 5-month-old animal in the head with a hammer and slit the puppy's throat with a knife before dumping it in the trash.
Cregg spent seven months in jail while he waited for the courts to determine if he was competent to stand trial. Psychological tests first showed he was not competent, and then found he was competent.
The ruling tied into Cregg being found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1983 murder of his father. Emanuel Cregg Sr. was shot twice and bled to death. His body was found in a drainage ditch.
Timothy Cregg was originally deemed incompetent for trial in the murder of his father. It was almost a year before he went to trial. In 1984 a judge ruled Cregg was not guilty of the crime by reason of insanity.
Cregg then spent 19 years in a psychiatric institution and was released in 2003.
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