Francisco Pultarco-Flores, 27, Hector Mendoza-Solano, 26, and Luis Mendoza-Hernandez, 24, were each sentenced in December 2016 by Circuit Court Judge Alex Pearson to one year in jail at 30 percent release eligibility on convictions of felony aggravated cruelty to animals.
Upon release in February from the Greene County Detention Center, the men were turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE spokesman Thomas N. Byrd said Wednesday that the trio, all ILLEGAL ALIENS FROM MEXICO, were deported to their country of origin on March 29.
“All three were ordered removed by an immigration judge from the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review,” Byrd said.
The three men were in the U.S. illegally, authorities recently said. There was apparently some initial confusion about their ages and full names after their arrests [likely because they gave them fake names, reversed their names, etc.], but the men were conclusively identified following an ICE investigation.
Pultarco-Flores, Mendoza-Solano and Mendoza-Hernandez were charged Aug. 14, 2016, by sheriff’s deputies with the felony animal cruelty offense. The men were apparently working in the Greeneville area.
The crime they were charged with outraged many in the community. Their victim was a 7-year-old German shepherd named “Smokey.” His owners live nearby.
Smokey’s owners, Elaine and Lester Darnell, told deputies that they were not at their White Sands Road home on the night of Aug. 14, when a thunderstorm passed through the area.
Elaine Darnell later said that she and her husband returned to put Smokey inside the house because he is afraid of storms, but the dog had already jumped over a fenced-in enclosure.
Smokey apparently ran about a quarter-mile to the 7900 block of Asheville Highway, where he came in contact with the three men. They never divulged the circumstances.
As deputies entered the apartment, the three men were seen in a rear bathroom.
"The bathroom door was open. There were three men in the bathroom with the dog and they were holding a bloody knife and a bloody stick," Amy Bowman, Manager at the Greene County Humane Society said.
Smokey had several cuts and punctures to his body. He had been beaten, stabbed repeatedly in the face, neck and body while trapped in the bathroom with the three men.
Blood was all over the floor of the apartment’s bathroom, one of the men was holding a bloody knife and another was holding a long wooden stick [with a knife attached to the end] that was also covered in Smokey's blood.
In court in December, Plutarco-Flores and Mendoza-Hernandez entered guilty pleas to aggravated cruelty to animals. Medoza-Solano entered a best interest plea, meaning he did not admit to the acts alleged by the state, but the plea had the same legal effect as if he were found guilty of the charge by a jury.
At sentencing in December, Pearson additionally prohibited the three men from owning any type of animal for 15 years. They were also ordered to pay veterinarian expenses incurred in treating the dog, which took several months to fully recover from his injuries.
It’s unlikely the court order prohibiting the men from owning animals carries any legal weight in Mexico, court officials said.
Pearson reviewed documents relating to the actions of the men before sentencing. He made similar statements to each defendant.
“These are terrible facts against you and you understand that kind of behavior is extremely offensive not only to the court but society in general,” Pearson told Mendoza-Hernandez.
Pultarco-Flores, Mendoza-Solano and Mendoza-Hernandez never offered an explanation for their actions on the night of Aug. 14, 2016.
(Greenville Sun - June 16, 2017)