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May 21, 2019 5:00 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Man Who Killed Aunt and Uncle's Dog Sentenced To Two Years In Jail

May 21, 2019 5:11 PM

The 22-year-old Springs man who choked and stabbed his aunt’s dog to death in December was sentenced to two years in jail on Thursday, May 16, according to his lawyer, Stephen Grossman of Sag Harbor.

Jose J. Galvez-Garcia pleaded guilty to a felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals in April in the courtroom of Suffolk County Criminal Court Justice Mark D. Cohen in Riverhead.

The felony falls under the Agriculture and Markets Law with a maximum of two years behind bars. On Thursday, Mr. Galvez-Garcia was sentenced to the maximum time.

On Monday, Mr. Grossman said his client will serve “local time,” and could be out within a year because the time he’s already served will carry over. “It’s mandatory. There is no discretion,” Mr. Grossman said of Judge Cohen’s decision. “It’s what the district attorney recommended.”

Mr. Grossman said that during sentencing his client made no comments. Whether Mr. Galvez-Garcia will stay in the Riverside jail, or move to another local jail, is not certain yet, Mr. Grossman added.

In March, Mr. Grossman explained that Mr. Galvez-Garcia could benefit from psychiatric treatment; however, on Monday, he didn’t comment on his client’s mental health. But he did say, “It’s a good thing that it’s local time, and he’s not going to prison.”

After Mr. Galvez-Garcia’s arraignment on December 4, East Hampton Town Justice Lisa Rana set bail at $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond. Mr. Galvez-Garcia failed to post bail and has been held in the county jail in Riverside.

Police said they arrested Mr. Galvez-Garcia on December 3 after one of the dog’s owners discovered the dead and badly mutilated pet in a wooded area near the end of Breeze Hill Road in Springs that morning. The owners, Mr. Galvez-Garcia’s aunt and uncle, had been searching for Simba, a 4-year-old Cockapoo, since the previous night.

During his arraignment, prosecutors said Mr. Galvez-Garcia’s family said he was acting “weird” and “erratic” when he came home to his mother and stepfather at 8 p.m. on the night of December 2—and that he “seemed upset” and was “acting disrespectful.” He told his mother, stepfather, siblings and cousin that he had been at the beach near Breeze Hill Road that evening.

Soon after, a family member noticed blood on Mr. Galvez-Garcia’s jacket. Later, his aunt and uncle called the family to say that their dog was missing.

The stepfather noticed a dent and dog hair in Mr. Galvez-Garcia’s car. The stepfather notified the uncle, and they began searching for the dog at the beach area where Mr. Galvez-Garcia had said he had been.

On Monday morning, Simba’s body was found in the woods about 50 feet from the road, with multiple stab wounds to the neck and torso. Police said the dog’s neck also had been snapped.

Without specifying what the argument had been about, Mr. Galvez-Garcia had confessed and said he was angry at his aunt for the way she had treated him.

Mr. Galvez-Garcia moved to Springs from El Salvador three years ago and has a green card. He was renting a room in a house on Woodbine Drive in Springs until November 29. Since then, he’d been living with his mother and stepfather on Cedar Drive in East Hampton, and occasionally living in his car. He worked for his stepfather’s landscaping business.

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