A case of animal cruelty in Las Vegas has spiraled into charges of intimidation, posted warnings about trespassing and a woman’s pledge to never intervene again if she witnessed a crime.
Two teenagers were seen by a neighbor as they drowned a pair of kittens and laughed. The next-door-neighbor, Christine Ohm, confronted the teenagers and went to the media to speak out about her desire for justice.
Ohm’s got the attention of police who investigated and arrested the two youths. The teens were taken into custody, and following a plea deal, each admitted to a single count of felony animal cruelty. The judgment was handed down in juvenile court.
The youths were given 30 days in custody and remained under house arrest, under their parents’ supervision, until school began. They were also placed on parole supervision for twelve months.
During their year of supervised release, their location will be monitored by GPS, they will be subjected to random drug tests and mandatory counseling. Additionally, the teens were forbidden to access weapons, have a driver’s license or use social media. Each was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and write letters of apology to an animal welfare organization.
While there was no real jail time, there were a lot of smaller punishments and inconveniences; an outcome not desired by the animal advocates who helped get the case prosecuted as a felony using the new one strike law.
Life With Cats, a feline support group, saw their Facebook page filled with comments each condemning the youths and the irresponsible behavior of the parents for allowing the crime to happen.
By the time Channel 13 reported, Ohm felt she was under siege. She reported a sign had been posted by the neighbors, facing her backyard and visible only to her. A call to the probation office got the father, who admitted to placing the sign, to take it down.
Ohm also reported a basketball being thrown into her glass doors and outdoor ceiling fans being tampered with.
Probation officers told Channel 13 that the neighbors’ behavior was just bad judgment and didn’t rise to the level of probation violation.
Back in the News
Four months later, Ohm was back in the news. According to KTNY Channel 13, the District Attorney filed a new motion in the case based on Ohm’s reports of witness intimidation and obstructing justice. Ohm reported many instances of intimidation by the two teens and their father, but until the DA got involved, there appeared to be little done to restore Ohm’s feelings of safety and security in her own home.
The father’s actions resulted in a contempt of court charge, and he faced jail time for the continuing harassment and intimidation.
“I will never be an eyewitness to something in my life. I don’t care if I see a murder in front of me,” Ohm said in September after enduring weeks of intimidation. She still seeks help from the media and the courts, hoping to get her life back after calling the police and reporting a crime.