Just before he was sentenced for killing a puppy who had defecated on his carpet, a former Baltimore police officer stood up in a Montgomery County courtroom Wednesday and told the judge: “I am ready to accept full responsibility for my actions.”
“Your actions,” Circuit Judge Richard E. Jordan said five seconds later, “were cruel, callous and without any apparent regret.”
Jordan then sentenced Alec Eugene Taylor, 28, to a year in jail, which exceeded state sentencing guidelines that had suggested a range of no jail time to three months.
Taylor earlier pleaded guilty to aggravated animal cruelty, after authorities accused him of beating a Jack Russell terrier named Rocko with a mop, choking him with his hands and placing the dog’s body in a dumpster.
Jordan said he was alarmed by a series of text messages that Taylor sent to his girlfriend before and after the killing — messages, Jordan said, that seemed to show little to no emotion.
“I almost killed rocko,” Taylor wrote at 4:29 p.m. on Feb. 26, following up a short time later. “He took a wet [defecation] all over the carpet after I let him outside.”
At the time, Taylor was a Baltimore city police officer, living in an apartment in Silver Spring. His girlfriend lived there, too, according to police records, but was at work at the time.
At first, she responded to Taylor’s texts indicating she knew there were at least some problems with the dog.
“Ugh, I dunno what to do with him anymore.”
A minute later, Taylor sent her a photo of Rocko on his side.
“Why is he laying like that?” she asked by text.
“I beat him,” Taylor wrote back, adding, “I might of paralyzed him.”
“Is he walking?”
“Nope,” Taylor responded. “Yeah I think he’s pretty much dead. Imma throw him out now.”
According to arrest records, Taylor and his girlfriend spoke by phone, and she persuaded him to retrieve Rocko’s body. Taylor eventually reported he’d done so: “Put him in a shoe box on the balcony.”
Taylor’s girlfriend would later bury the dog’s body, which was dug up by police. A necropsy identified the “likely immediate cause of death as acute hemorrhagic shock likely due to blood loss from liver damage caused by blunt force trauma shortly before death,” according to police charging documents.
Jordan, the judge, noted how Taylor used the mop to get to Rocko.
“We do know that you had to beat him out from his hiding place from behind the washer or the dryer with the mop,” Jordan said. “It’s absolutely disgusting what you did.”
Jordan also cited a letter that Taylor’s girlfriend from that time had written to him, which explained the emotional effect the incident had on her and her son. She spoke briefly at the hearing Wednesday.
“Rocko was not just a dog,” she said. “He was a member of my family. Mr. Taylor took him away from me.”
Taylor is no longer a police officer in Baltimore, according to a police spokeswoman and to Taylor’s attorney, Warren Brown.
Earlier in the hearing, Brown had urged Jordan to consider Taylor’s brave service as an officer, and the stress that can have on someone.
“On a daily basis [he] patrolled the very deadly streets of Baltimore,” Brown said, adding “This man snapped, and this was out of character for him.”