21-year-old arrested in goat killings

Posted at 2:26 PM, May 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-30 08:43:56-04

Maryland Natural Resources police say a 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged in connection with the killing of two goats and the maiming of a third at a state park in separate incidents in April and May.

Police say officers were called to the Adkins Arboretum in Tuckahoe State Park where two goats were found dead with their throats slit on April 8. On May 2, officers were called again after another goat had been found stabbed but was still alive.

The investigation led officers to search the home of Mervyn Jay Downes III in which they found evidence linking him to both incidents. Downes turned himself in late Friday evening, according to police.

The Caroline County man has been charged with three counts of aggravated animal cruelty, three counts of malicious destruction of property, two counts of destroying an animal in a state park, two counts of having a weapon in a state park, two counts each of trespassing and being in a state park after hours. Police say several weapons were also found at the Ridgely home.

The suspect was charged last December with multiple counts of illegal deer hunting to which he pleaded guilty to one charge after which he was given probation before judgment and fined $1,500. Downes is on probation until September 3.

Police say the maximum sentence for aggravated cruelty to animals is three years in prison and a fine of $5,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 5.

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