Wednesday, Julius Holley, 56, of Detroit, pled guilty to one count of Animal Torture in the First Degree with a habitual 4th offender sentence enhancement, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. The plea accompanies a sentencing agreement of 5-15 years imprisonment, reserved restitution, and a prohibition on owning or possessing any animal or contacting the human victim. Sentencing will be held on June 12.
In October of 2022, Holley broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend, stole and damaged her property, and took her Yorkshire Terrier mix dog.?Holley then beat and tortured the dog, while recording himself doing so, and sent the videos to his ex-girlfriend.?Ultimately, the dog was abandoned in a bucket next to a house and was taken by Michigan Humane to ensure it could not be abused again. The attorney general announced charges against Holley in November. When the case garnered media attention, Holley fled the state. He was extradited from Ohio in late 2022 and has remained in custody since. The dog is alive today.
“The torture of an animal, and for the explicit torment of those who love them, is a cruel exhibition of violence that is inherently linked with domestic violence and Michigan is well served by the law which acknowledges this link,” said Nessel.
In Michigan, a person who tortures or kills a pet with the intent to cause mental suffering or distress to another person, or to exert control over another person, is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.?The 2019 law, MCL 750.50b(3), recognizes the connection between animal abuse and domestic violence and provides law enforcement with the tools necessary to hold dangerous perpetrators accountable.
Holley has a history of violence against multiple women, including convictions of criminal sexual conduct and domestic violence, dating back to 1992.
The case against Holley is part of a partnership between the Department of Attorney General and Michigan Humane to investigate and prosecute animal abuse crimes.?Michigan Humane provides a Safety Net pet fostering program for people who need a safe place to temporarily house their pets.?People in need of the service, or those looking to volunteer to foster animals in these situations, should call the Michigan Humane at 866-648-6263.
Portions of this project are funded in part by Grant No. WE AX 0030 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice.