Cruelty leads to arrest

Published 12:09 am Friday, April 8, 2011

NATCHEZ — Adams County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man Tuesday for aggravated assault and four counts of animal cruelty after he allegedly choked his mother and killed four puppies.

Benjamine J. Desjardine, 33, 50 Farr Road, was given a $58,000 bond at his arraignment Thursday by Justice Court Judge Charlie Vess.

A sheriff deputy report said Desjardine’s mother, Mamie Kramer, went to the sheriff’s office immediately following the incident Tuesday to report that her son choked her with his arm before she saw him beat a puppy with a stick.

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Kramer escaped the location of the incident on Farr Road before three of the four dead puppies were injured, the report said.

Kramer reportedly told deputies her son was angry with her for speaking with his family drug court case manager concerning a custody hearing for Desjardine’s child.

Nan Garrison of the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society said she went to the location to investigate the animal cruelty charges and found four dead puppies in a ravine by the residence.

An autopsy said the puppies had crushed skulls and internal bleeding, which Garrison said might have resulted in kicking.

Garrison said the 8-week-old, mixed breed puppies belonged to Desjardine.

When Vess read Desjardine his charges and said he was being accused of beating puppies to death with a metal pipe, Desjardine interrupted.

“It was a hammer not a pipe,” he said.

Desjardine later said in court the puppies were going to die and kill the rest of the litter if he did not do something.

Desjardine’s drug court case manager, Kenyatta Sampson, said Desjardine mental health professionals examined Desjardine Wednesday and determined he has a personality disorder.

She said Desjardine could be involuntarily admitted to the state mental health facility with the courts permission, a request Vess denied.

“That would be like walking to a paper bag and being able to punch your way out,” Vess said.

Vess placed a hold on Desjardine pending a bond revocation hearing for a recent charge of possession of crystal meth, for which he was out on bond while waiting to appear in front of a grand jury.

Vess said the state dismissed two charges of domestic violence/simple assault on Desjardine in 2010.

In addition to placing a hold on Desjardine, Vess gave him a $50,000 bond for the aggravated assault/domestic violence charge and $2,000 for each count of animal cruelty.

Vess said the current law for animal cruelty, which punishes a maximum of a $1,000 fine and six months in jail, restricted the amount of bond he could place on each count.

Desjardine could face 20 years in prison if the aggravated assault passes through the grand jury, Vess said.

Sampson requested from Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield after the arraignment that Desjardine be placed on suicide watch.

Mayfield said Desjardine’s case is a good example why harsher laws for animal cruelty recently passed is the Mississippi legislature and pushed by Sen. Bob Dearing need to exist.

The new animal cruelty law has not yet gone into effect.

Garrison said the scene of the incident was very disturbing to herself and appeared to disturb the deputies, as well.

“This is a man who does not need to be on the street,” Garrison said.

Garrison took eight dogs belonging to Desjardine into the custody of the humane society, including uninjured puppies and puppies’ mother.