BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Diondre Brown admitted he acted as a lookout while his uncle set a puppy on fire. But the teen will not spend any additional time behind bars for his role in the heinous crime.
The dog, now known as Phoenix, has undergone several surgeries for severe burns. On Friday, Brown quietly apologized for his role in the shocking case of animal cruelty. Brown was responsible for caring for the dog when the owner of the home where he lived said Brown had to get rid of it. That's when Brown's uncle, 19-year-old Adell Ziegler, set the dog on fire.
Judge Kenneth Case said, "But it was you were afraid of your Uncle Adell Ziegler, who has a violent history, that you reluctantly agreed to act as a lookout while he then set the dog on fire."
Brown was 17-years-old at the time of the incident and is now 18-years-old. Judge Case agreed to grant him youthful offender status and sentenced him to six months in jail, which he has already served, so Brown will be released Friday night.
As part of his five years of probation, Brown is not allowed to own a dog. In his sentencing, the judge took into account Brown's cooperation in the prosecution of his uncle, as well as Brown's past.
The teen witnessed the murder of his own mother and three other people on Koons Avenue when he was only 9-years-old, and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder ever since.
"He's been away at Juvenile Detention facilities. He's had a lot of problems, this young man, there's no denying that. It's not an excuse but it's an explanation for how he might have got involved in it," Brown's attorney, Andrew LoTempio said.
Ziegler will be sentenced for setting Phoenix on fire on June 14, and he could face two years in prison.
Phoenix has recovered well but still has problems with his leg. He is currently in foster care but there are five candidates being considered for his adoption.
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