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Mistrial Declared In Dog Burning Case

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johnson twins, Phoenix

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A jury could not agree on a verdict in a high-profile case of animal abuse.

Andrea Fujii reports the mistrial comes nearly two years after the young pit bull was set on fire in West Baltimore and left to die.

Jurors deliberated for three days, but were not able to agree on whether two boys doused a dog in gasoline and set her on fire. 

The case has become a test for how future animal abuse cases will be handled in the city.

There are polar opposite reactions regarding this case.  The accused are glad they weren’t convicted and animal welfare advocates are disappointed there’s no conclusion.

A mistrial was declared in the infamous case of a dog named Phoenix who was doused with gas and set on fire in 2009 in Baltimore.  She later died.  Twin brothers, Travers and Tremayne Johnson, were accused of the crime.

After three days of deliberations, jurors couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict and the judge declared a mistrial.

“This jury has to be commended.  I think they were simply remarkable for their hard work and dedication in trying to reach a verdict,” said Caroline Griffin, Baltimore Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force.

Juror #5 didn’t want to go on camera, but says that at the time of the declaration, it was 11 to one in favor of convicting Travers and Tremayne Johnson.  The dissenting vote believed there was reasonable doubt and wouldn’t budge.

“I’m satisfied with the result of the mistrial.  Hopefully the state will realize they don’t have the evidence to retry this case again because the evidence isn’t going to change,” said family friend Tomasina Degree.

“We’re disappointed the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict and we are hopeful the State’s Attorney’s Office will retrial this,” said Griffin, who hopes there will be a new trial.

“Citizens of Baltimore will definitely be paying attention to this,” said Ann Gearhart, Snyder Foundation For Animals.

The trial lasted a total of five days.

Travers Johnson remains in police custody in a separate attempted murder case.

It’s unknown whether the case will be retried.  That’s up to the State’s Attorney’s Office.

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