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3 people plead guilty to 2022 hanging, stabbing death of adopted dog

Posted at 4:51 PM, May 31, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — Three people pled guilty to hanging and stabbing a dog to death who had been adopted Indianapolis Animal Care Services in 2022.

The Pit Bull Terrier named Deron came into IACS on June 29, 2022, as an owner surrender. He was adopted by 19-year-old Zech Thomsen, who was accompanied by three other people, on July 28, 2022.

On Aug. 6, 2022, IMPD received reports of a dog that was bleeding while being choked in the 700 block of Bosart Avenue.

Upon arrival, officers located four adults, one of which who was sweeping the front porch and another who was holding a bucket of water.

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Police say when an officer tried to question one of the people on the porch, identified as 20-year-old Sierra Makin, she slammed the door to the residence shut. The officer reopened the door, grabbed her arm and told her to turn around.

Police say she then punched the officer in the face. Later, Tomsen hit a second officer in the back of the head.

Deron was later found dead in a trash bag with a leash wrapped tightly around his neck. He had several lacerations on his body, according to court documents.

A witness later told police he saw the dog barking at Thomsen, who was holding a knife in his hand. The witness didn't see Thomsen stab the dog but did see him choke the dog and wrap the leash around the dog's neck.

Later, police say a doorbell camera video captured Thomsen saying "where the knife at, someone go get me a knife?" and "I am going to put that dog down."

A second man, Clifford Massey, is seen helping Thomsen carry the dog to the trash can and putting it inside.

Thomsen is charged with the following:

  • Torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal
  • Battery against a public safety official
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Resisting law enforcement

He will spend two and a half years in prison for killing Deron on top of 27 years for an unrelated murder charge.
Makin was sentenced to three years in prison with a one-year suspended sentence. She was charged with the following:

  • Battery resulting in bodily injury to a public safety official
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Resisting law enforcement

Massey was charged with torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal and obstruction of justice. He will have a plea hearing on June 20.
A fourth person, Denita Lynn Hughes, was charged with obstructing justice and sentenced to 304 days of probation and a fine of $100.

“Deron has won a measure of justice for his terrifying death,” said Doll Stanley, Senior Campaigner for In Defense of Animals. “I thank In Defense of Animals supporters who demanded strong sentencing to deter animal abuse. People who hurt animals are a danger to all of society.”