Two former Maine police officers were sentenced to prison for beating porcupines to death while on duty.
The incident was reported to Rockland police in August by another officer. Both were fired from their jobs in September. Addison Cox, 28, and Michael Rolerson, 31, pleaded guilty in Knox Superior Court to misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals and night hunting, according to court documents. Rolerson told investigators from the Maine Warden Service that he had killed eight of the spiky rodents, which he believed were a nuisance that caused damage, according to The Bangor Daily News.
He was sentenced to 270 days in jail, with all but 20 days suspended. He was also fined $1,000, placed on probation for six months, and must give up his Maine Criminal Justice Academy Credentials. Cox admitted that he had killed three of the animals and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with all but 10 suspended. He was also fined $1,000, cannot apply for a law enforcement job for six months, and must complete 100 hours of community service.
Prosecutors asked for a heavier sentence for Rolerson as the was the senior officer and had killed more of the animals. District Attorney Natasha Irving said that prosecutors had agreed to reduce the charges to misdemeanors, partly because both men were military veterans who had seen active duty.
Rolserson had previously told investigators that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving as a Marine in Afghanistan. Both men are now receiving treatment from the Veterans’ Administration. “That was a mitigating factor, that they both experienced war zones. Ultimately I want them never to hurt another living thing again,” said Ms Irving. She added: “I think that addressing the mental health component, I think that’s a really important part of it” [Yahoo News].
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