On Monday morning, Andrew Thompson appeared calm and looked forward with a blank stare in Lansing’s 30th Circuit Court.
The 24-year-old former MSU graduate student sat still in a button-down shirt across from his attorney, waiting to announce his decision to plead guilty to three charges of animal killing before Judge Paula Manderfield.
Accepting a plea bargain, Thompson admitted to killing two Italian greyhounds in East Lansing and another in Okemos. Facing up to $20,000 in fines and a maximum of four years in prison, Thompson is scheduled to be sentenced June 13.
By accepting the bargain and pleading guilty, Thompson’s decision eliminated the need for a jury trial. During his pretrial Sept. 14, 2011, a plea bargain could not be reached.
He originally faced charges of killing 13 Italian greyhounds — 10 while living in Berrytree Apartments, Whitehall Drive, in Okemos, between October 2010 and June 2011, and three while living at a condominium on M.A.C. Ave. in September 2010.
On June 25, 2011, Thompson turned himself in to Meridian Township= Police and spent more than 100 days in Ingham County Jail. After posting 10 percent of his $10,000 total bond, he was released and lived with friends in Okemos, working in retail. He was required to wear a GPS tether and abide by a 10 p.m. curfew.
Ingham County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Lisa McCormick said Monday’s outcome was satisfying. She said the maximum penalty for three counts of dog killing is equal to the penalty of all 13 charges.
“He could not get any more time if he went to trial and was convicted,” she said.
Thompson’s attorney, Stacia Buchanan, declined to comment.
Director of Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter Jamie McAloon-Lampman said the center had hoped for a conviction and for Thompson to be charged with three felonies.
During a search of Thompson’s Okemos residence on June 21, 2011, an Ingham County animal control officer found an injured dog in his bedroom closet.
“We did get what we wanted,” McAloon-Lampman said regarding Thompson’s plea.
University spokesman Jason Cody said because Thompson was suspended from the College of Osteopathic Medicine and no longer is a student, the university did not have a statement.
Thompson has not been taking classes at the university since June 2011 and was disenrolled as of November 2011.
If anything, McAloon-Lampman said she hopes any individuals involved or following the case walk away with more motivation to speak up about animal cruelty. She said Thompson’s crimes were known well before the 10th or 11th animals allegedly were killed, and the abuse could have been stopped sooner.
“I’m glad it’s over,” she said. “I hope sentencing is going to be sufficient for the crime.”