Defendants in Mare Torture Killing Going to Trial

Two Northern California men who pleaded "no contest" Sept. 4 to felony animal cruelty stemming from the torture death of a 24-year-old Thoroughbred mare were allowed to withdraw their pleas and have been scheduled to face trial Dec. 1.

A probation report recommended maximum three-year state prison sentences for both defendants, Liobijildo Guzman Herrera, 22, and Noel Guido-Silva, 21, both Sonoma County residents.

On Oct. 17, attorneys for the two men asked Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Robert Boyd to change the pleas to "not guilty" after seeing the probation report. Prosecutor James Patrick Casey said the defense lawyers told Boyd they improperly advised their clients to admit to the felony charge previously.

"Even though it was an open plea (no plea bargain), they figured that because the defendants had no previous record and were in this country illegally, they would receive a county jail sentence and be deported," Casey explained. "They felt there was no basis for a state prison sentence."

Herrera and Guido-Silva, who have been in custody since late June, are Mexican citizens.

The defendants stand accused of chasing down the mare Gentle Song in her pasture near Santa Rosa in April and, while using a truck and a car, striking the exhausted animal twice. She suffered a fatal head injury when she crashed into the passenger side window of the car.

About the Author

Jack Shinar

Jack Shinar is a frequent contributor to The Blood-Horse magazine and is part of their Digital Media department.

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