Tuesday, September 12, 2006

# 926. Dead dog trial.


A Wentzville woman was found guilty Wednesday of hitting another woman over the head with a dead Chihuahua puppy, and could now get up to 18 months in jail.The bench trial, heard before Associate Judge Terry Cundiff, featured X-rays of the dead dog, a detective's pictures of the dog and testimony from the woman who said she was hit over the head repeatedly with the dog.

Lisa Hopfer, 34, was found guilty of third-degree assault and trespassing, both misdemeanors, after a trial that lasted about an hour at the St. Charles County Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon. She is expected to be sentenced Sept. 25.

"She's somebody I never want to be in the presence of again," the victim, Linda Hulsey, said shakily afterward. Hulsey, 33, now lives in Alabama.Hopfer, who did not have an attorney, appeared in court wearing an oxygen tank, which she said she needed because of health problems. She testified that she never hit Hulsey with the dog. She did admit yelling at her and waving the dog out her sunroof window as she drove away."Yes, I was pissed," she testified. "But I did not hit her with the dog.

"The incident happened at Hulsey's home in St. Peters on June 7, a few days after Hopfer bought the puppy from her. Hopfer said that after she bought the dog, which she named Chloe, she took it to a veterinarian, who said it was only 4 weeks old and needed to be returned to its mother. But sometime during the night, the dog died.

Hulsey testified the dog was 6 weeks old. She said that early that morning, Hopfer rang her doorbell repeatedly. She opened the door and said Hopfer told her, "Look what you did!" Hopfer hit her on the head with a plastic bag containing the dead dog, Hulsey said. Hulsey said Hopfer pushed her against a wall and the two scuffled in the foyer and down the steps of the split-level home. Hopfer yelled and took the dog out of the bag and rubbed it in Husley's face and hit her with it, Hulsey said. They tussled their way outside.

All I could do was sit when I got outside and put my head down," Hulsey said. Hopfer then grabbed Hulsey's hair, pulled her head up with it, and hit her on the head at least 30 times with the dog, Hulsey said.A neighbor, Patricia Finley, testified she looked out her window and saw Hulsey sitting on the porch and somebody swinging something at her. She said Hopfer yelled: "Look what she gave me! Look what she gave me! A dead dog!'

"The next day, Hopfer told police a man attacked her at a St. Charles cemetery and she believed it was retaliation for the dog incident. Police said later she admitted making up the story, and a charge of filing a false police report is pending.

At the trial Wednesday, Hopfer held up X-rays of the dog and said she had signed statements from two veterinarians saying that the dog didn't appear to have broken bones. Hopfer said that proved she didn't hit Hulsey with the dog. Cundiff said Hopfer could not admit the X-rays and letters because she had to provide witnesses to talk about them. He had already told her she had to do that, he said.

After the trial, Hopfer hurriedly walked out of the courtroom and denied Cundiff ever told her that."I can't believe he didn't admit my stuff," she said. "I had proof."As she waited for the elevator, she showed off a picture on her cell phone of Kallie, her new Chihuahua."She's doing great," she said proudly.

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