RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The man charged with burning a dog alive in Richmond faced the judge for the first time Tuesday morning.
Jyahshua Hill, 20, of Richmond was arraigned in Richmond Circuit Court. Hill is charged with felony animal cruelty, after Tommie the pit bull was killed, back in February.
Tommie was tied to a fence in Abner Clay Park, doused with accelerant, and then set on fire. The pit bull died five days later, suffering burns to 40 percent of his body.
The outpouring of support for Tommie and Richmond Animal Care and Control was immense, reaching far beyond the United States. Heartbroken ‘Team Tommie’ supporters donated more than $100,000 to Tommie’s fund, which will now go towards emergency medical treatment for other tortured animals received by Richmond Animal Care and Control.
Jyahshua Hill’s wife was in court. She says she has information that someone falsely gave her husband’s name to police, so they could cash in on the $25,000 reward money in Tommie’s case. She said she had never seen the dog before.
"The accusation is very false,” she said.
Hill’s wife, who is nine months pregnant with his first child, asked that her identity not be revealed for the safety of her family. She has four other children, and has been receiving death threats since Hill’s arrest.
"I've experienced a lot of threats to me and my family," said Hill's wife. "That people are going to burn my apartment down... hang my kids, burn my kids alive. I just want it to stop."
Hill was assigned a court appointed attorney and is scheduled to appear in court again for a bond hearing on June 3.
“I’m 37 weeks pregnant,” Hill’s wife said. “I’m about to have his baby and I got to have the baby by myself.”
The $25,000 reward money in Tommie’s case does not go to anyone unless there’s a conviction.
Investigators say they received an overwhelming number of tips in Tommie’s case, including several videos, which ultimately led them to a suspect.
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