Accused pet torturer and killer, Jeffrey Nally Jr., appeared in Hancock County Court on Monday., January 20th . Nally’s court appearances have been delayed numerous times over the past year; most recently because he requested a psychiatric evaluation.
That tactic backfired, as the evaluation found him competent to stand trial on 29 counts of felony animal cruelty, one count of domestic battery and one count of kidnapping. If he is convicted, each count of animal cruelty could bring a 1-5 year sentence.
According to Hancock County Prosecutor James Davis, Nally was offered a plea deal that would have had him serving 10-45 years. Nally refused, apparently willing to take his chances with a jury.
Nally’s former girlfriend, Jessica Sellers, is expected to testify. She told police that he had held her captive for two months in his home at 1855 Orchard Lane, New Cumberland W.Virginia where he physically and sexually abused her, and terrorized her by killing twenty nine pets that he had obtained from “Free to good home” classified ads. She told police that he frequently forced her to hold the dogs and puppies while he killed them, and in other instances forced her kill the animals. When the prosecutor asked her why she was complicit, she said “Because I knew the consequences if I didn’t.”
Sellers told police Nally had her place the phone calls to people who advertised puppies and kittens in the ‘Bargain Hunter’ . Nally was under house arrest at the time for previous charges of domestic violence and illegal possession of firearms. Unable to leave, he would give directions and have the people drop the animals off at the house on Orchard. Sometimes he would obtain three or four animals at a time. “Some would last weeks, others not even an hour,” the woman said.
At one point he obtained some cats and kittens which he said he intended to put in the barn to catch mice, but he killed them all the same day. Most of the 29 animals that were tortured and killed were puppies.
Sellers said when Nally was killing the puppies “he had a gleam in his eye, like he was having a blast.” Reportedly, he offered a puppy to the woman’s mother during a telephone conversation and told her killing dogs “is a thrill”. Sellers showed police where a shotgun and rifle were hidden behind wall panels, and where the dogs were buried.
Nally has been held at the Northern Regional Jail since his arrest in February of 2010. His bail is set at almost half a million dollars.
On February 1, Nally will appear before Judge Fred Fox II with pretrial motions that seek to bar the use of certain words the defense considers prejudicial in front of a jury, and to suppress certain evidence. One suppression motion argues that the prosecution has no scientific evidence to connect several items reportedly found at Nally’s home – including an animal skin, eyes in a mason jar and blood found on a tool – to any of the dogs he allegedly killed. Another request would bar the jury from seeing any evidence gathered from Nally’s property, which his attorney claims investigators obtained without a search warrant.
Prosecutor, Davis, said that the he is grateful for the help he has been receiving from the ASPCA, the Humane Society and the Animal Legal Defense Fund in building his case.