St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - A 31-year-old local man was sentenced Thursday for the torture and murder of dogs discovered in an abandoned home in a north St. Louis neighborhood last May.
Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue of St. Louis, said police contacted him on May 15 that a dead dog was hanging out of a second-story window of a residence in the 5300 block of Wells Avenue, located in Hamilton Heights.
Grim said he and two other staffers went to the home and discovered four other dead dogs in the residence, the walls of which were covered in gang graffiti.
The dogs had been tortured.
Rescuers found chains and electrical cords, which had been used to restrain and strangle the dogs. They discovered skeletal remains of one dog that had been choked to death, as well as the remains of one dog that had been burned. Grim said at the time he believed the dog was alive when it was burned.
Grim said x-rays were performed on the body of the dog in the window, revealing that the animal died as a result of a crushed larynx.
Investigators said witnesses informed them Darick Stallworth had been seen with two pit bulls at the vacant property. Both dogs were chained in the yard and appeared extremely malnourished with no source of food or water. Both animals were chained in such a way that they were living in their own feces.
Police said Stallworth admitted to throwing one of the pit bulls into the basement of the vacant home and eventually killed the dog by crushing its larynx with a cable cord.
Darick Stallworth was charged with three counts of felony animal abuse/torture and two counts of animal abuse/abandonment. He pleaded guilty to all five counts in August and was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison.
The severity of this and other recent cases of animal abuse led Mayor Francis Slay and Randy Grim to announce the creation of the St. Louis Animal Cruelty Task Force, with the goal of raising awareness and increasing convictions, while detering future animal abuse.