Two men pleaded no contest in the beating of a Florida veteran who tried to stop them from torturing a turtle earlier this year at their apartment complex.
Ryan Ponder and Johnnie Beveritt were arrested Feb. 14, along with a teenage friend, in the Daytona Beach assault of a disabled Navy veteran, reported WFTV-TV.
The 23-year-old Ponder and 18-year-old Beveritt were charged with battery and animal cruelty after they attacked Garry Blough Jr. when he tried to stop them and a 16-year-old from smashing the turtle onto the ground.
“You don’t hit a woman, you don’t hit a child and you don’t hit an animal around me,” Blough told the TV station shortly after the attack. “I won’t stand for it. That’s not right.”
Blough’s skull and some facial bones were broken in the beating, which also left him with internal bleeding and a concussion, and the turtle was found dead nearby in a pool of blood.
A judge sentenced the pair Monday to 18 months probation on the felony count and 12 months probation concurrent on the misdemeanor count, the TV station reported.
They were also ordered to stay away from one another and have no contact with wildlife or Blough, who said he is recovering from nerve and vision damage.
“This is their second chance, their only second chance,” Blough said. “If they mess up on probation, then they pay the piper.”
The men were also ordered to take two days of anger-management classes and pay $16,500 in restitution — but Blough doubts that will happen.
“Now we have to try to figure out how to get the rest of these medical bills paid,” he said.