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Man charged with hanging puppy during burglary

May 3, 2010 1:30:29 PM PDT
A 25-year-old Antioch man accused of beating his girlfriend, breaking into her house and killing her puppy is scheduled to be arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez this afternoon.

Gerald Anthony Ortega, Jr. is facing 14 charges, including three counts of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse and two counts of assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury.

He is also charged with two counts of making criminal threats, two counts of false imprisonment, and one count each of cruelty to animals, first-degree residential burglary, vandalism, dissuading a witness and misdemeanor battery on a spouse, according to the district attorney's office.

The charges stem from four separate incidents on April 2, April 26, and last Tuesday and Wednesday.

Police became aware of the problem last Tuesday when Ortega's 31-year-old girlfriend reported that her home in Concord had been burglarized. Officers arrived to find that numerous items had been stolen and that her puppy, a Jack Russell terrier, had been hanged with an electrical cord wrapped around a light fixture, Concord police Lt. Steve Dyer said.

The victim initially said she did not know who was responsible for the crimes, but on Thursday she came forward to police and described a three-year history of emotional and physical abuse by Ortega, including death threats against her and her two children, according to Dyer.

Ortega is not the father of the two children, Dyer said.

The victim initially did not tell police that she believed Ortega was responsible for the burglary and killing her puppy because "she had feared for her life," Dyer said.

Investigators learned that Ortega was staying at the Premier Inn and arrested him Thursday evening. The district attorney's office filed charges against him Friday afternoon.

He is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. today.


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