Community members, and family friends, gathered Tuesday morning to mourn the loss of Diamond; the abused pit bull found hanging from a tree branch in the Summit Lake area of Thurston County on March 21.
Approximately 20 members from the Facebook group “Justice ‘Just US’ For Diamond” waived signs, t-shirts, and banners to show support during the arraignment of James L. Evans. Evans is the assailant charged in the death of Diamond. “We are here to show our support and bring attention to this terrible event,” says group organizer Cindy Hahn. Hahn, and her daughter Kelsey are both family friends of the owner and believe that although the crimes were terrible, not enough pushback is being felt from the community. “We want to make sure these abuses do not go under the radar,” says Kelsey Hahn.
Diamond was found beaten, sodomized, raped, and hanging from a tree with her toes just inches from the ground. Animal control officer, Erika Johnson expresses her concern for the seriousness of the abuse. “Evidence shows that offenders like this often start with animals, and their abuses quickly escalate to humans,” says Johnson. Evans was charged with temporarily watching the dog for the owner, who says, “He was always sort of a jerk, but I never thought he’d be capable of this.” The pit bull technically was her sons dog, and was an emotional companion for boy.
Evans (33) attended his arraignment at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and plead not guilty to one count of first degree animal cruelty. Although Evans plead not guilty, he admitted to hanging the dog from the tree, but denies the rape allegations. Community members and court officials are awaiting the results of a DNA test, which if positive, will ad one count of beastiality to Evans’ charges. Undercover investigator Samantha Smith says her experience in abuse cases demonstrates judges are issuing harsher sentences for such crimes and keeping violent offenders off of the streets longer.
Members of “Justice ‘Just US’ For Diamond” are hosting fundraisers to raise capital for a memorial. “We would like to make a plaque or an engraved stone,” Says Hahn. For now, friends, family, and community await Evans’ trial with clenched fists and teary eyes.