Friday, July 28, 2017

Horse Trainer, Sentenced for Cruelty, Released Thursday

Robert Dimitt, race horse trainer sentenced in Sequoyah County District Court for cruelty to animals, has been set free.

Dimitt was released from jail Thursday. He was sentenced to five years in prison on five counts of cruelty to animals that led to the deaths of several race horses. Dimitt had cut the bottoms, or frogs, out of the horses’ hooves “to make them run faster.”

Doping suspensions had left the trainer without a license in Oklahoma and New Mexico, but he continued training under the names of his assistant trainers, Ty Blackwell and Tana Pace.

At a judicial review hearing Thursday in Sequoyah County District Court, District Judge Jeff Payton granted the defendant’s motion for an early release. Judge Payton noted that he has received more than 50 emails opposed to the change of sentence.

Dimitt’s attorney, Donn Baker of Tahlequah, argued that Dimitt had good behavior while in the county jail, and that an Arkansas masonry business has offered Dimitt a job, with a $15 an hour salary, and temporary living accommodations.

Assistant District Attorney Stacey Slaughter’s request that Dimitt wear an electronic ankle monitor was denied by Judge Payton.

Dimitt will be required to have no contact with horses during his 15-year probation. And he remains the responsibility of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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