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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — When a dog was set on fire in Baltimore, the case stunned the city with its cruelty and callousness.

The two teens accused of that crime were set to go on trial for the second time Wednesday.

But as Suzanne Collins reports, the case was pushed back again.

In February, one juror would not agree to convict.  On Wednesday, the State’s Attorney’s Office was scheduled to retry the Johnson twins, but that has been postponed.

Phoenix was singed over most of her body. The pit bull didn’t survive, but the public was outraged over the animal’s treatment.

Two teens, Travers and Tremayne Johnson, were charged with animal abuse and tried.  The case ended in a mistrial.

“We’re really anxious about this case. This is the first case of this type that’s gone to court in Baltimore,” said Deb Rahls, BARCS. “It’s brought awareness to the city and to the citizens of Baltimore of what is not acceptable by our citizens.”

Evidence in the February trial showed the police investigation had flaws. A lead detective was not assigned to the case for two weeks after Phoenix was set on fire. Also, no crime scene was roped off and much of the evidence was not collected.

The father of the Johnson twins says it’s a case of mistaken identity.

“I don’t think it’s right. Of course, they are falsely accused,” said Charles Johnson, father of defendants. “It’s something they didn’t do.” 

Advocates for animals are following the case closely, hoping it will educate the public about the problem and lead to solutions for the animals. 

Phoenix’s suffering touched many. 

“It’s something that’s someplace in my mind, and it’s going to stay with me always,” said Shelly McDonald, animal advocate.

A defense lawyer for the brothers is actively involved in another trial, causing the postponement.

After the burning of Phoenix, the mayor established an animal abuse task force to look into that problem in the city.

Comments (21)
  1. rip phoenix says:

    hope they burn in hell!!!

    1. Stacy says:

      I agree the two teens deserve to rot in hell for what they did. Someone should burn them and just let them sit their for a while to see what it is like to not give a damn about them because they are teenagers that belong in cages because they are trash.

  2. deltasweetiepi says:

    Right they are falsely accused…until they kill a human being.

  3. kimberly hill says:

    the comments on this site are unbelievable to say that these kids are trash and they should burn in hell makes me angry, i understand the anguish of the dog being set on fire but come on people it’s a animal, some of you are taking this a little to serious get a life.

    1. JeanneG says:

      Kim….this is a gateway crime. Do you realize that both of these men have VERY long records? Do you realize that Travers is being held in jail on attempted murder charges? Still not concerned about them “just” hurting an animal? Animal abuse is a gateway to violent crimes against humans.

    2. lovesanimals says:

      no, sorry the “teens” who did this are the animals…this was an innocent dog! I’m so tired of hearing “its just a dog” that is pure and utter BS. This was a living, brething, feeling, loving, trusting being with more compassion that apparently even you have.

      1. carrie says:

        could not agree more with both lovesanimals and jeanneg

      2. cris says:

        @jeanneG and lovesanimals, i wish i knew where you lived i would set your dog or cat on fire and let them run back into your house. that would be hillarious. then you really would have something to cry about and be sad lls

      3. Billiam says:

        Yes, it was an animal – an animal who didn’t deserve any kind of fate such as this. But to wave it off as “it’s just an animal” is a direct reflection on what the attitude of the city has evolved into recently. Cris – you are pathetic – to honestly believe you would go into someone’s home and set someone’s pet on fire convinces me you have some underlying problems and would be better off not being in public. You don’t get it and never will, until it’s too late.

    3. Anita says:

      It’s a complete lack of humanity and anyone capable of doing that to a dog can and will do it to a person. Or haven’t you heard that one of these “kids” has already been arrested for attempted murder with a handgun?

  4. RDNKKKGRL says:


  5. defender of the defenseless says:

    kimberly you’re an idiot. that dog went through so much pain. Or are you that stupid to think that animals don’t feel pain.. When people torture animals they end up torturing humans …maybe it will be you.

  6. cris says:

    tyypical Cr@ckers worrying about a dog who none of you knew on here. so what the dog got burned what are you going to do start a revolution lls you pwt hill billies cherish a dog over human life. HEY REDNKKKGIRL WHEN IS THE NEXT DOG FIGHT LLS GET A LIFE

    1. Cristina says:

      What the F@ck are you talking about? You are an absolute moron and need to be sterilized…please don’t breed any more of your kind…. and by your kind I mean an uneducated lame excuse for a human being so don’t try to make this a race issue. The fact is that if these “kids” are guilty they should pay for their crime… whether it was agains’t a dog or a human being. I’m sure you would be screaming for justice if a crime was committed against you and people tried to look the other way. This poor dog had no voice and can’t speak for herself against these two pieces of garbage so we will stand up for her and speak because God blessed me with a voice and I sure as hell intend to use it. You, my friend, are the only one that needs to get a f@cking life and apparently an education as well.

  7. not surprising says:

    i’m not an animal lover..and I really don’t sympathize with the dog..but if these boys committed the crime then they should pay for what they did..torturing of animals is a gateway crime, as Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and all the other countless serial killers..they all killed and tortured animals but it wasn’t big news..wondering out loud why this case is such a national headline..and for those who think a humans life has the same worth as an animal then become advocates to stop deer, bear, and duck hunting…

  8. Leonard says:

    I have a dog of my own, it’s kind of hard to explain how you come to feel about your pet. They are an important part of your family. Now if I had to choose to save either her or one of my sons or daughters that’s simply a no brainer. But it’s hard on people who’ve come to love animals to hear people say things like the dog doesn’t matter. I don’t remember all of the details of this story but it angers me when people abuse animals. It’s just twisted. but believe me I was a 17 year old 5 foot 8 inch 185 pound kid and was in the process of being arrested at gun point for a crime a man much bigger and older I was at the time had committed. It was a matter of timing the police shot the guy the next town over while they were detaining me on the street. Let them regroup and gather all of the facts they can and proceed with an air tight case. That is the best route to take before their lawyer gets them off on a technicality and they were guilty all along.

  9. ravenmaniac881 says:

    Travers Johnson….almost a full page already on the Md. Judiciary Case Search at 19 years old,were they all mistaken identity also Mr. Johnson, and let’s not forget your other son Tremayne…..WOW, you must be proud he’s the angel of the crew.

    Bet you and Mrs. Johnson can’t wait to have a few more so you can polute the world a little more. Wonder if you’ll visit them in Jessup.

  10. Rufty Maurer says:

    You don’t have to be an animal advocate to feel for poor Phoenix, and what that innocent dog went through at the hands of those monsters. Any person with common, human decency would feel the same way. No dog is “just a dog”. It’s a living, breathing, feeling, loving, trusting being. They committed murder on an innocent being. Hope they rot for it, RIP Phoenix

  11. Toni says:

    I can’t believe that someone would really set an animal on fire. What was the purpose of doing that?

  12. jake op says:

    This world has really gone to the dogs. It is very sad that the life of a dog is more important than the life of a human. In Maryland if you kill a human, and get a mis-trial, the state will not proceed with the case, and the killer will walk. If you kill a dog, and get a mis-trial, the state will waste our tax dollars to retry the case. Something is very wrong with this picture. We need to be more carefull of the idiots we put in these offices. They waste our tax dollars making bad decisions, and than want to raise the prices on everything to make up for their stupidity.

  13. police31 says:

    i know the parents of these two criminal and they are on crack and they sell crack here in west baltimore prsbury and mount sts i lived there and born there in sandtown winchester baker st and i seen alot of sh——————— growing up 51 now and some are dead! but sh—t happins the police know that they criminals they know the stuff there doing they do @!

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