Texas woman gets 10 years in jail for animal torture videos

Reuters News
Posted: May 29, 2014 5:44 PM

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - A Texas woman was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday for her role in making sexual fetish films called "crush videos" that show women using weapons and stiletto high heels to bludgeon and torture animals.

Ashley Richards, 23, of Houston, pled guilty to three counts of animal cruelty, in the hopes of eventually getting probation, according to Camille Hepola, a spokeswoman for the district attorney in Harris County, which includes Houston.

"We wanted to make sure she would get prison time," Hepola said.

According to the indictment, Richards appeared in several videos. In one set, she was seen slicing a small dog's neck with a knife and slashing the animal's leg and neck with a meat cleaver. 

"When a person tortures and kills an animal, that raises a red flag about that person's capacity for violent behavior in general," Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said. 

An attorney for Harris was not immediately available for comment.

The man who allegedly filmed the videos, Brent Justice, 52, also of Houston, has been charged with animal cruelty and is being held on $50,000 bond. Hepola said Justice has not entered a plea.

Hepola said the Richards case will be taken to the Texas Legislature when it convenes in January with the aim of having lawmakers set longer maximum prison times for certain types of animal cruelty.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Leslie Adler)