K-9 Officer Jethro, of the Canton Police Department in Ohio, was killed in the line of duty last January. The man who shot him was found guilty and has been sentenced to 45 years in prison.
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Jethro, a German Shepherd, was shot four times while trying to apprehend Kelontre Barefield, 23, who was in the act of burglarizing a grocery store. Barefield, who had been firing at the responding officers, turned his gun on Officer Jethro–who died a day later from his wounds.
Jethro was 3-years-old, and had lived with Canton PD Officer Ryan Davis, who had partnered with Jethro since the dog was 8 weeks old.
The death of the dog moved the community of Canton in a way that many had not expected. An 11-year-old girl even donated her allowance to help get bulletproof vests for the department’s other dogs.
“Officer Davis has received 2,000 letters since Jethro’s death, and he was catching up with them over the weekend,” Officer Eric Stanbro, head trainer of Canton PD’s K-9 unit said. “He came across this girl’s letter and donation, and it really touched him.”
Allison, the girl who had saved her allowance, told Davis, “I sorry about Jethro. So here is my allowance for the bulletproof vests. God bless you and the dogs.”
Jethro’s funeral drew in many well-wishers. police and K-9 units from other states even attended the public event. Ohio law-makers, outraged at the crime, passed legislation strengthening the sentencing guidelines for those guilty of killing police dogs.
Stark County Common Pleas Judge Kristin G. Farmer handed Barefield a long sentence. Barefield received the sentence after pleading guilty, a spokeswoman for the Stark County Clerk of Courts wrote in a statement today. 45 years. No word on if he’ll appeal the sentence.