*WARNING* This article contains images that some people may find disturbing.
A male videographer who was arrested back in August of 2012 for filming animal crush films was sentenced on Monday to serve 50 years in jail.
The guilty party is Brent Wayne Justice, 54, from Houston, Texas. He and his cohort, Ashley Nicole Richards, 25, from Waco, Texas, were both arrested back in 2012 for their roles in filming videos that involved the torture and killing of “non livestock” animals. Their arrest was in part due to a complaint from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, known as PETA.
Justice and Richards were making movies using meat cleavers, knives, and other objects to torture and kill dogs, cats, chickens, puppies, and kittens. Crush films are popular with a sexual fetish community that gets sexual gratification from watching small animals tortured and killed.
These two despicable human beings were indicted by a federal grand jury in Harris County, Texas, back in November of 2012. At that time, the pair was linked to multiple videos. According to an article by Chron.com, prosecutors in August of 2012 said that throughout 2010 Richards had received emails from clients offering to pay her to provide “crush” videos of tortured animals for their sexual gratification.
One poor animal was a pit bull. Prosecutors said in court back in 2012 that Richards had allegedly bound the puppy’s mouth with tape and cut its back leg with a meat cleaver. She then cut the back of the dog’s neck and used a different knife to cut the underside of its neck. While another dog (shown below) had its mouth taped shut with duct tape and then beaten with a meat cleaver.
Richards was convicted for her part in the videos after entering a guilty plea last year.
Per an FBI press release, “Under federal law, it is illegal to depict—via photograph, motion-picture film, video, digital recording or electronic image—actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury, and is obscene.”
The release adds that the recent convictions are believed to represent the first indictments in federal court since the law was amended back in 2010.
“Previous court records also indicated that during the videos, Richards is often scantily clad and wearing a Mardi Gras-type mask,” the FBI adds. “As she tortured the animals, she engaged in sexually charged dialogue meant to arouse the viewer.”
PETA’s initial inquiry into the videos is being credited for alerting federal investigators about the ongoing crimes.
Despite her seemingly obvious culpability in the matter, Richards’ prosecution was a surprisingly circuitous affair.
“Richards was originally arrested on state charges on Aug. 15, 2012,” the FBI explains. “A federal grand jury returned an indictment Nov. 28, 2012, and she was transferred to federal custody. However, the crush video charges were later dismissed on what the court cited as constitutionality issues. The government appealed that decision to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans which subsequently overturned the decision of the District Court. The defense then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the 5th Circuit’s ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court denied that petition and remanded the case back to the District Court for prosecution.”
Ultimately, Richards’ punishment wasn’t as severe as Justice’s.
None of the customers who purchased these video were charged with any crimes. Richardson stated on the stand that she did not know the clients, suggesting that only Justice knew who they were because he was in charge of handling all the clients.