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La Plata, MD – A man who slit the throat of the family puppy while threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend, and her three children was sentenced to 13 years in prison by Charles County Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier Thursday, Dec. 1 in La Plata.

Stephen Eugene Paysinger, 38 of Waldorf, was sentenced to three years for the animal cruelty charge and another 10 years for second-degree assault.

Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney John A. Stackhouse asked Bragunier to consider the “sadistic and violent” behavior of the defendant in considering her sentence.

The first assault, Stackhouse noted, occurred on Valentine’s Day 2016 and the second on Feb. 24.

“He picked up the puppy and in front of the victim and the kids, he slit the dog’s throat,” Stackhouse stated. “Just looking at that, to cut a puppy in front of little kids like that, merits some consequence.”

The puppy had emergency surgery and did survive, he added.

“He has shown no remorse for his actions,” Stackhouse continued. “He even tried to pin this crime on somebody else.”

In addition, the prosecutor pointed out, “He comes to the table with quite a record.”

“My children were hurt and traumatized by what the defendant has done,” the victim said. “He violated the protective order several times. I’m asking the court to please protect my family and give them a chance to heal.”

Paysinger’s attorney, Makeba Gibbs, said that her client grew up in a tough neighborhood in New Jersey.

“Where he was raised, it wasn’t unusual to look out of the window and see someone getting murdered,” Gibbs said.

She said her client admitted to her he had an alcohol problem, and expressed regret that he hadn’t left the relationship earlier.

“I hear the defendant saying he regrets not leaving the relationship and for wasting the court’s time, but I don’t hear regret for what he did to the victim, her children, and the puppy,” Bragunier stated. “He seems to have no remorse for the sadistic and violent behavior he has exhibited.”

Bragunier sentenced Paysinger to three years in prison with credit for 187 days served on the animal cruelty charge. She gave him another 90 days concurrent to that sentence for violating the protective order.

In addition, Bragunier handed him a 10-year sentence, consecutive to the three years, for the second-degree assault charge. Then she also tacked on 10 years to run concurrent and 10 years suspended, both on assault charges.

Upon release, the defendant will have five years of supervised probation and she ordered him to undergo an alcohol evaluation. He was also court-ordered not to have contact with the victim or her children.

Bragunier said she would consider transferring his probation to New Jersey upon his release.

Stackhouse said because of the guideline structure, Paysinger will probably only end up serving a quarter of the time he was sentenced.

If Paysinger violates the terms of his probation upon release, the judge made sure he would face significant backup time in prison.

Originally posted at The BayNet: http://www.thebaynet.com/articles/1216/manwhoslitfamilypuppysthroatgivenjailtime.html.

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