Andrew McCarriston, 18, 2 Charlotte Road, pleaded guilty to a charge of animal cruelty during a hearing in Salem Superior Court.
McCarriston will now undergo a 40-day mental health evaluation at Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital before returning to Salem April 18 to learn his sentence. The evaluation will act as an aid in sentencing.
McCarriston has been held at the Worcester hospital, a state mental health facility, since shortly after his arrest in May 2016.
Prosecutor Lynsey Legier told Feeley that the death of the dog, named Coco, came to light through a Peabody veterinarian, who called police after McCarriston’s mother brought the dog to her to be cremated.
Under the state’s animal cruelty law, the veterinarian is a mandated reporter, so she contacted police.
They eventually learned that McCarriston, while alone with the dog, had bludgeoned it to death with three blows from a baseball bat.
X-rays of the dog revealed skull fractures and severed vertebrae and a puncture wound to the dog's head.
McCarriston allegedly told his mother “he’d done something bad,” Legier told the judge.
McCarriston’s parents, who have appeared at every proceeding in the court case in support of their son, were also present in court for the hearing Wednesday.
Feeley told McCarriston he won’t make up his mind about sentencing until he receives the report, but also said that if McCarriston and his lawyer, Randy Chapman, are unhappy with the eventual sentence, they can withdraw McCarriston’s guilty plea and seek a trial.
(Salem News - March 8, 2017)