Two Florida Men Arrested After Allegedly Torturing Turtle And Then Attacking Man Who Tried To Save It

urlIn Dayonta Bearch, Gary Blough, a disabled Navy veteran, is recovering from a vicious beatdown. The reason is not a mugging or a personal feud.  Rather, Blough rescued a turtle that was being tortured by two men.  Ryan Ponder, 23, and Johnnie Beveritt, 18, then allegedly jumped Blough as he tried to release the turtle back into the water.

When people gathered, the men took off but were later arrested. Police believe that the turtle died after sinking in the water.  The two men had been slamming the turtle violently into the concrete and kicking it.

Beveritt is being held in a juvenile facility but would likely be tried as an adult. They both face two felonies for aggravated battery and animal cruelty.

What do you think should be the range for any sentence if convicted?

87 thoughts on “Two Florida Men Arrested After Allegedly Torturing Turtle And Then Attacking Man Who Tried To Save It”

  1. I suspect it’s helpful for a Professor of the Law to occasionally test what he might know the law requires against popular sentiment. Popular sentiment drives laws (within the limits of our Constitution and those of the various States). Variations between the current law and popular sentiment – in either direction – would help to inform the good Professor which way the law might be bending.

  2. We should not be surprised by what happened in Daytona Beach.

    Worst of the Month — January
    February 9, 2017 @ 3:53 PM by Tim Lynch

    So for January we have selected the case of Philippe Holland, who was an innocent man shot by Philadelphia police.

    According to news reports, here is what happened: Holland was a college student who worked part-time delivering take-out food. Two years ago, he was delivering a cheeseburger to a house when two officers in plain clothes responded to the area because of a report about gunshots. Holland says he thought he was about to get robbed because the officers approached him without identifying themselves. Frightened, Holland jumped in his car and tried to drive away quickly. The police officers opened fire and Holland now has a permanent seizure disorder and has bullet fragments in his brain.

    Last month, the city agreed to pay $4.4 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Holland, reportedly the largest settlement for a police shooting in the city’s history.

    The officers involved in the shooting–Kevin Hanvey and Mitchell Farrell– claim that they feared for their lives and thus had to shoot. They were not prosecuted. Even after the passage of two years the department says their discipline is yet “to be determined.” Hmm.

      1. It’s plenty relevant, just as all of the links are. That you can’t see the relevance — without an explanation — tells one a lot. “Insular” comes to mind.

  3. Yes, it’s horrible, as is the following incident. (There’s plenty of violence in the U.S. and it’s to be found in many quarters. We need to be looking at the root causes and dealing with violence at the top – violence which inevitably trickles down.)

    LAS CRUCES – Four years ago, a dispute between neighbors turned violent when a Las Cruces police officer threw a stay-at-home mother onto gravel and intentionally slammed her face into the rocks, causing profuse bleeding, a broken nose and a fractured wrist.

    On Friday, after more than three years of legal wrangling, an eight-member federal jury awarded the woman and her husband, Jillian and Andrew Beck, both formerly of Las Cruces, $1.6 million in damages.

    The verdict was reached at the end of a five-day trial in U.S. District Court in Las Cruces. The trial centered on allegations in the couple’s civil-rights lawsuit against Officer Isaiah Baker and Officer Joseph Campa, both of the Las Cruces Police Department.

    After about three hours of deliberations, the jury determined Baker had used unreasonably excessive force on Jillian Beck in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He also committed a battery in violation of New Mexico law, the jury ruled. Because the latter was not a criminal charge, Baker is not facing any time behind bars.

      1. Maybe he thinks the turtles were intoxicated, called the cops on a neighboring turtle, and wrote obnoxious notes to the threatening turtle while dumping salmon and onions on it’s shell.

  4. BTLM. Black Turtle Lives Matter.

    Give these guys a good head banging on the concrete just outside the courthouse right after sentencing. Kick em in the genitles. Or however ya spull it. Drown them in Lake Erie. They are both sore of queerie.

    1. If they’re not queerie now, they will be after a stint in state prison. Young punks like that are going to be passed around like a box of chocolates.

  5. JT is not a Georgetown professor. The G-town professor was arrested the other day for selling meth. JT teaches at George Washington. In any event, I believe these punks should receive the maximum penalty under the law for animal abuse and aggravated assault of the individual who tried to help the turtle. I can’t imagine any mitigating factors for such wanton cruelty. And I hope that someone has set up an account to accept donations for the Good Samaritan.

  6. I suspect this is certainly not the first time these men were convicted of something. So I expect their sentences to be on the upper range of the sentencing law. Moreover, if this state has enhancements based on the age of the victim, the state will without doubt include these.

  7. I agree with David, except it should be indentured servitude. Pay them 10 cents an hour.

    1. The prospect of slavery or indentured servitude may seem emotionally satisfying to Paul and David, but the practical logistics are formidable.

      Where would Blough keep his slaves? How would he feed them? Share cropping does not seem likely to solve those problems. Even if he tried to place his slaves out on the day labor market, who would want to hire them.

      It does not seem to me that slavery or indentured servitude is a solution to Mr Blough’s problems. Like much feel good legislation, slavery is simply not a solution to the problem at hand.

      1. They can be sentenced to servitude to the state. The Constitution does not prohibit such sanctions, in fact it is permitted by the Thirteenth Amendment. Forced labor can be one manner of punishment.

      2. bigfatmike wrote: “Where would Blough keep his slaves? How would he feed them?”

        You speak as if slavery never worked in history. These are not formidable problems. Society simply recognizes that these men are his property for the timeframe in question. He would house them and feed them and most of all teach them and train them to act like responsible human beings. He would have power over them to make them work for him without having to pay them anything other than room and board. A disabled man has many needs that two young men can do for him. He can teach them how to fix things around the home. He can teach them to cook, to wash cars, to sweep and mop, to paint, and many other things. He may even decide to start a business with these two men supplying most of the labor to get started. There is very little that could not be accomplished by these two young men working for him. It would be much better than a prison term where the taxpayer foots the bill of over $30,000 per inmate. It would be better for the victim, for the criminals, and for society. It would be so good if we could just get around our programmed displeasure to that dirty little word “slavery.”

        1. “You speak as if slavery never worked in history. These are not formidable problems…… He can teach them how to fix things around the home. He can teach them to cook, to wash cars, to sweep and mop, to paint, and many other things. ”

          Slavery works fine if you have a plantation on fertile soil and the market is good you can grow in you temperature zone.

          But you suggestions – cook, wash cars, … sweep – suggest you have not compared the cost of housing and the wage rates for hourly workers in most parts of the country.

          I think you have given us ample information to conclude that the practical logistics of slavery are formidable and further that giving Blough slaves is, at the very least, economically untenable.

          As a reality check on my conclusion, just consider how many people work at low end jobs – eg at Walmart – and still collect benefits from the state. It seems clear that many, if not most, low end jobs simply do not pay enough for subsistence.

          It is a pretty good bet that Blough will loose money on his slaves if he is required to pay the cost of necessities and can do nothing more than place the slaves services on the labor market.

          Of course this analysis is based on the assumption that these two candidates for slavery don’t have college degrees of significant work experience. If Blough had been assaulted by MBA’s, slavery would be a much more interesting proposition – at least from an economic view.

          1. bigfatmike, no, slavery worked thousands of years before there was any such thing as a plantation. Entire societies worked without any kind of prison system, using the slavery system instead. I don’t have to research costs. I house and feed several homeless people all the time. Too bad I couldn’t have power to direct their work and train them to be productive members of society. The law prohibits bettering the poor. Instead, the law gives them money to subsist and perpetuates their poverty. We could do better if we allowed temporary slavery for those who needed boot camp.

            1. ” I don’t have to research costs. I house and feed several homeless people all the time.”

              If you have not checked current market conditions then you cannot possibly know if current employment opportunities could cover the cost of subsistence for the slaves.

              The fact that many employed industrious people at the lower levels of society qualify for government support indicates that the proposition ‘income from slaves will cover their subsistence cost’ is questionable at best.

              Now if you have a time machine and can transport the slaves back a few hundred years you might be on to something.

              Personally, I would try for the MBA slaves. I think it is much more likely you can make a thriving slave business in today’s society with MBA’s. The question is where we might find some slave candidates with MBAs – oh, that’s right, Wall Street!!!

              You could probably pick up a few MBA slaves on wall street and create a thriving slave business. Hmmm … selling used cars, funeral plots, homesteads in the everglades, credit repair, all sorts of financial consulting, political consulting, survey research ….

              Dave, it is OK to want a slave. Just be sure you get slaves that measures up. Current incarceration cost average about $100 and in some localities 2 to 4 times as much – over $400 in New York city.

              Keeping under educated slaves in Florida for 7 years could turn out to be a very expensive proposition. My guess is that if you don’t get this just right you might wind up wishing the slaves run away.

              BTW, should slave catching be a government service or private enterprise?

              1. bigfatmike, I don’t understand why you are so intent on hiring them out. The idea of slavery is that they work for their master. The relationship can produce discipline and character in the slave, and the master benefits from his labor.

                Consider if these young men were to become my slaves. I own an office building here with an apartment attached to it. Both of these young men could live in this apartment. The additional cost to me would be minimal, primarily a little extra expense for additional water and electric use. Actually, because I currently help homeless people with this apartment, there is no additional cost for me. For food, it may be an added perk that they would qualify for SNAP. Although I am against the idea of this kind of assistance, if it is going to be offered, they might as well get what they qualify for. The single homeless men I know get about $195 a month. That should cover food adequately. I would teach them how to shop. As their master, I can make sure they don’t waste time with drugs, alcohol, chasing women or other men, and other things that ruin a person’s productivity. I would educate them with books that benefit the mind. I would teach them how to use computers, and if they have an aptitude for it, how to develop software (the line of work that I am in). Just like my own children, I would try to learn what they are interested in, what their passions are, and help them develop those things. I would teach them how to find a career that would pay them for doing the kind of work they care about.

                I currently employ at $16 an hour, so they could work for me, saving me $32 per hour. That’s a savings of $1,280 a week, $66,560 per year. If they become productive, they would save me even more money because normally I would be giving raises to people that are productive and bringing in more money, but with slaves, I would not have to do that. Oh, I might share a little bit with them just to help motivate them to do better. I would teach them how to save, how to handle finances, and be responsible. Over a 7 year period, my benefit from their labor would be at least $465,920, but probably closer to the half million dollar mark. Note that their benefit would actually be much more because of unmeasurable equity added to my business. I am unable to afford to hire such workers right now because of my taxes being so high. Their added productivity to my business would be such that I should at that time be able to hire people to replace them and pay a more full wage of $75,000 to $100,000 per year. It would be a great stepping stone for my business. When it came time for me to release my slaves, I would help them get setup with their own home and give them a few thousand dollars to get started.

                1. @davidm2575: “Consider if these young men were to become my slaves. I own an office building here with an apartment attached to it. Both of these young men could live in this apartment. The additional cost to me would be minimal, primarily a little extra expense for additional water and electric use. Actually, because I currently help homeless people with this apartment, there is no additional cost for me. For food, it may be an added perk that they would qualify for SNAP.”

                  You are indeed a successful, industrious, and fortunate man. I commend you on your work with the homeless.

                  But I have already mentioned that there may be some in the society (eg the Koch brothers) who’s use of salves would be cost effective. From your description, you are clearly one of those fortunate few.

                  However, I believe the issue we were discussing was Mr Blough’s ability to profitably put his slaves to work or whether the slaves would be a drain on his resources. It appears to me that Mr Blough would have few opportunities to profitable employ his slaves, or realize savings from using them for his personal service – Mr Blough’s personal expenditures for help with activities for daily living are likely to be small (limited to co-pays) due to Medicaid and other insurance programs.

                  I also argued that most of us are likely to find ourselves in a situation similar to Mr Blough. Most of us do not have successful businesses in which to employ slaves. Most of us would like to have more living space for ourselves or our families. We don’t have living space that we could easily allocate to slave quarters.

                  You have made a convincing argument that you could profitably employ slaves. I don’t think you have touched on the general question of whether the vast majority of us could effectively or profitably employ slaves.

                  In addition you have side stepped the issue of governmental services to slaves and slave holders. I agree that under current law you should be able to make used of programs such as SNAP – food stamps.

                  But the issue of governmental services to slave holders seems to raise a host of questions of whether slavery makes sense as an element of the criminal justice system. In your discussion, you seem to want to focus on the benefits of punishment as implemented in your limited, personal circumstance. It is not clear to me that most (or any other) slave holders would have any interest in working with slaves to improve their social skills, self control, moral fitness or any of the many skills necessary to get along in society.

                  Even if we stipulate that your approach to slavery would realize benefits to the freedmen who would result from the program, there is nothing in your discussion that suggest your success could be replicated among others who might want to be slave holders, or that slavery is a good general solution for criminal behavior.

                  I would be interested in hearing your discussion of what qualifications and standards should apply to slave holders, slave conditions, what governmental services should be provided to slave holders, and what compensation slave holders should provide to the government for the use of the slaves?

                2. david – indentured servitude is only for 7 years max, slavery can be forever. Take your pick.

        1. After 7 years, at 10 cents an hour you would have paid the indentured servants just over 6,000 dollars. Add in room and board, it seems to me that indentured servants are a very expensive proposition.

          On the other hand if you are a member of the Koch family, you could possibly put the indentured servants to work in on of the many family businesses and possibly realize a profit over the cost of the servant.

          But for working stiffs like most of us here, I am just not seeing the upside of indentured servants or slaves.

          Consider, the owners of many small businesses work in the business because there is simply not enough profit to justify hiring a manager. Many people, I would guess, most people simply do not have the resources to generate the income producing opportunity to gainfully employ a slave or an indentured servant.

          To make it profitable to have a slave, one has to have a business situation in which the slave can generate more income than the cost of the slave’s subsistence.

          We can even put some numbers on this. It seems reasonable that most positions that pay minimum wage or above are already filled or in the process of being filled with non-slave labor. That suggest that slave employment opportunities must pay less than minimum wage (why would you pay a slave minimum wage or above when you can hire an honest, enthusiastic worker). We know that a budget year us usually around 2000 hours. That suggest that the maximum a slave owner might realize from a slave is around $14,000. The slave owner will have to keep subsistence costs for slaves below something like $14,000/year or loose money.

          So an initial reality check is whether slave owners can do better at lowering slave subsistence cost below average incarceration costs – at roughly $30,000/year.

          Well, maybe so. But much of this has to do with what living conditions are required by the state – how many slaves can be put in a room, how many calories of food are required each day? What about medical care? Surely it is not in the interest of the state to let slave owners drag sick slaves to the emergency room whenever there is a problem?

          I wonder if those who advocate for slavery have though this through. I don’t see that slavery has any real advantage for the state that already pays inmates a very small sum. And, it seems unlikely to me that any significant number of citizens could break even, let alone realize a profit, holding slaves.

          In addition, there is the question of enlarging government. If we turn slaves over to citizens, then don’t we need committees to write slave standards, inspectors to enforce the standards, and slave catchers to return run away slaves.

          The proposition may sound good – ‘lets punish these guy and turn them into slaves’.

          But the details make this look like a looser of a proposition.

          Before you put in an application form to own a slave, perhaps you ought to place a help wanted add and see if you can make money off the labor of those who apply. If you do not have a realistic way to employ those applicants – then maybe you should not be so sure you can make profitable used of a slave.

          1. bfm – I figure to hire them out at $10 an hour which will cover their room and board. They are making the same amount prisoners get.

            1. ” I figure to hire them out at $10 an hour which will cover their room and board. They are making the same amount prisoners get.”

              That is more than fast food pays in this area. But don’t worry. I will do my best to keep this quiet. We don’t want a crime wave as people try to get put away so they can make $10/hour.

              Still, I had no idea you had such an entrepreneurial streak – nice.

              1. bfm – not sure if you understand the plan. I pay them 10 cents an hour, the people I hire them out to pay me $10 an hour.

                1. @Paul Schulte: “not sure if you understand the plan. I pay them 10 cents an hour, the people I hire them out to pay me $10 an hour. …. I figure to hire them out at $10 an hour which will cover their room and board. They are making the same amount prisoners get.”

                  Thanks for the clarification. When you said ‘you would hire them out at $10/hr …. they are making the same amount as prisoners get’ …. well, maybe you see the source of my confusion.

                  I hope we can get this info out in time to avert a crime wave from all the under employed people trying to get in the joint so they can make $10/hr.

                  Now the challenge is to room and feed your slaves and keep some profit for your self on roughly $19900/year ($10/hr – 10cents/hr = $9.90).

                  Lets see, here are some of the essentials:

                  Room $500 * 12 = $6000
                  Meals 365*3* 1.25 = 1370
                  Transportation to work 22 days/month *12months * $5 = 1320
                  Medical $100/month * 12 = 1200
                  Supervision (that is you – 24/7)
                  Total $9890.

                  I realize this must be incomplete and some of the big round numbers are not very realistic. But it looks like you might clear roughly $10,000 per slave for being alert 24/7.

                  At that rate, for just under 9,000 hours per year of effort you will be makeing, roughly, $1.14 per slave, per hour.

                  Just, think, if you can persuade the state to give you control over 7 slaves, you can just about make minimum wage for each hour of the year.

                  Do you think you could arrange double shifts for your slaves? You might be able to make some real dough.

                  1. bfm – overhead is nothing. I can buy a shed from Lowe’s and put them in there. Shackle them to the concrete floor. This is really not my plan. I am copying the old Southern prison plan. They knew how to maximize potential.

                    1. Who knew you had such appreciation for southern heritage. I took you for the mid west.

                      A shed from Home Depot would certainly cut your expenses and contribute to the bottom line.

                    2. bfm – I am from the West, although I went to school in the Midwest. Still, I watch a lot of movies. 🙂

                    3. @Paul Schulte: “bfm – I am from the West, although I went to school in the Midwest. Still, I watch a lot of movies. :)”

                      California and school in the Mid-West make perfect sense to me.

                      But I am still trying to imagine you as a walking boss with mirrored sunglasses and a shotgun in the style of ‘Cool Hand Luke’.

                    4. bfm – we do not consider California the West. But I could see myself as The Walking Boss in Cool Hand Luke. 😉

                    5. I saw a nice trailer advertised on Facebook for $800. This would keep costs down. It has a microwave, refrigerator, stove, etc. Needs a little work on the inside replacing some wall panels.

  8. Let’s see. They killed a turtle and broke bones on a disabled man who fought for our country. I think they both should be made slaves of this man for 7 years. Our Constitution allows for slavery in the case of convicted criminals. I think he could teach them some manners in 7 years time.

  9. Seriously, I would like to know a little more about these two. They are kind of old to be hanging around a stream/pond playing around with a turtle. Have they been in trouble before do they pose a real threat to the community? Not that what they did to the good samaratin wasn’t bad. There’s all kinds of things out there about people who torture animals and it’s not good.

    1. One of Kipland Kinkel’s kinks was torturing animals. IIRC, Jeffrey Dahmer would kill them and then dissolve their flesh in acid. He first killed someone in 1978 (and desecrated the corpse by chopping it up and soaking parts in acid).

  10. They need treatment for obvious mental problems. Whether the cause of the mental problems is genetic, diet, or social environment, these mutts need a minimum of five years of treatment. The treatment should be focused on monitoring at first to determine if straight incarceration is the best solution, education and therapy, or a mixture of both. One has to ask, however, if this is a mindless force of nature that will disappear with some help and result in normal lives, or if something deeper is in play. Therefore monitoring and treatment for an extended period of time. What is at stake here are people’s lives if these two are mentally deranged.

    More successful societies, vis a vis those who stray from the norm, have found that early intervention with targeted treatment reduces the violence in the future. Perhaps the US can take a cue from societies that have an abundance of empty jail cells instead of business opportunities focused on the need for more cells.

      1. You want a range? Okay, the minimum should be 10 years in prison where they spend 18 hours a day learning a trade. The maximum would be to drop them into an ISIS camp with a machete, where they can put their penchant for violence to good use.

    1. I’m not sure you understand that JT is a teacher. He asks specific questions. He proposes certain conflicts. If he was anymore deliberate with the bones he throws us we should have to pay tuition.

        1. You’re right I have nothing. As far as running the blog I try to read what everyone has to say and I can’t seem to grasp what you are trying to say as you appear to wander off into BC Bud zone.
          I would like to once get thru all of your bloviating and see if there is a concrete point you actually are trying to make.
          I’ll have to give you credit, at least you are consistent.
          This what I think of every time I read , or attempt to read one of your comments:

  11. I think there’s a misunderstanding here these two young gentlemen may be from one of the universities who do not require applicants submit SAT scores? The day in question they may have been on a field trip and possibly both fine young men may major in herpetology and just testing the density of this particular species shell? They may have also been timing the animals ability to stay submerged for extended periods of time? As far as the Injuries to the navy veteran goes he may have tripped over the amphibian which resulted in him taking a fall?

  12. It is very troubling when someone takes pleasure from causing pain, whether in animals or people. It’s quite different from killing an animal for food, including turtles, which is to be done as humanely as possible.

    But there is something very wrong with someone who so lacks empathy that they enjoy the suffering of people or animals. There is a reason why the torture of animals is usually a warning sign of psychopathic tendencies, that first shows up when the person is young. Serial killers often feed their obsession with pets and other animals first. That poor turtle would have felt great pain if its shell was crushed. It’s attached to its body inside.

    Even without being a clinical psychopath, it shows a complete lack of empathy. We need some level of empathy to function as a society, as good people, and our jails are filled with those who lack it.

    I also seem helpless to stop myself from pointing out that the BLM movement considers all African American inmates to be political prisoners. Which means that those who abuse animals as well as their rescuers are deemed persecuted when they are arrested, so long as they have the proper ancestry.

    I am also forced to admit that in one of my biology classes, the TA pithed turtles. They used a hook under their jaw, dragged their head forward, and jammed a spike it their heads to destroy their brain. Their lower functions continued from the hindbrain, but the animal was rendered unconscious while the students vivisected them and experimented with electrostimulation of the muscle fibers. I hated hated hated hated it. This happens to a lot of animals in science, where they are not killed right away. But at least every effort was made to spare the animal pain.

    Meanwhile, out of all of this, Gary Blough comes out a hero. He did the right thing and stood up for the helpless, as a role model. I wish that more people made it a goal of theirs to actually become a good person when they grow up, know right from wrong, and stand up for the little guy. That used to be what little kids were taught, but now their role models are questionable.

  13. A jail sentence of some months seems appropriate if you’re not going to beat them with a rattan cane and stick ’em in the pillory and stocks.

  14. I can’t believe someone would actually think “beatdown” is racist. It’s simply more overly sensitive reactionism. The term is an example of urban dialect, but doesn’t have any kind of racial bias.

    Anyway, as far as the original question, I don’t favor making them unpaid slaves in the correctional system, so how about some type of public corporal punishment, with a doctor present, then let them go? If they do something so cruel again, hang them. Oh, I forgot. The current penal system is more interested in making money off inmates so that would never fly.

    1. ‘Ali’ the boxer was VERY glad his grandpappy got on that boat. Good can come out of bad, or would U prefer blacks running around in loin clothes.?

  15. The perpetrators are obviously mentally damaged, but no more so than anyone else who engages in depraved violence. They need to be constrained from causing further damage.

  16. Wonder if life in prison is on the menu? So Blacklivesmatter does not extend to black turtles eh? How selective…Wonder what set them off.. oh nothing. It’s part of who they are. What a drain on our society.

  17. What is a beatdown? Some kind of PC slang? Just looking to the right hand side of the page (or is it handright) I see a even more racist terminology. Snowflake students from snowflake professors.

          1. supposed progressives using the teabagger stand by of the false equivalency, sad.

      1. It’s called culling a herd and legal doofus. How much beef ,chicken, pork do U eat doofus
        Now let’s talk about Obama and his drones. Humans killed no less.

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