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Trial For Teens Accused Of Setting Dog On Fire Postponed

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johnson twins, Phoenix
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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.

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