A Florida agriculture teacher who allegedly drowned two raccoons and an opossum during class earlier this month won’t face criminal charges—as authorities determined the killings weren’t cruel or inhumane.
In a four-page “decline to file” letter obtained by the Ocala StarBanner, Assistant State Attorney Toby Hunt explained his controversial decision not to prosecute Forest High School agriculture teacher Dewie Brewton.
“This decision to decline to file charges is not made in a vacuum,” Hunt wrote Friday.
The prosecutor claimed they don’t believe Brewton intended to torture the raccoons as he and the students debated on how to kill them in the most humane way. He also noted that several of the students who witnessed the issue wished to remain anonymous, making it nearly impossible to land a conviction without a witness.
Hunt continued, “This office had just recently gone to trial on an animal cruelty case where a defendant cut the tails off of four kittens with rusty scissors. A jury of his peers found him not guilty. Based on the totality of the circumstances in this case, Mr. Brewton did not intend to torture or torment these nuisance animals; he was simply attempting to protect his class’s school project in an appropriate manner.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, footage captured by a student appears to show caged raccoons being dunked into buckets of water until they died. A freshman student told local station WFTV that it took several minutes for the raccoons to drown.
At the time, school officials said Brewton drowned the animals, with students’ participation, because they were a nuisance and a threat to other animals, reportedly having killed chickens that were being raised by the school’s agriculture program.
According to the StarBanner, initial reports indicated Brewton was placed on administrative leave “pending the outcome of a district investigation.” However, Brewton announced in a May 18 letter that he’s retiring after more than 31 years with the Marion school district. While his retirement ended the school district probe into his actions, the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were still investigating, the newspaper reported.
Hunt concluded, “The fact that Mr. Brewton has taken an early retirement and has been exposed to incredibly intense media scrutiny seems a fitting resolution, particularly when there has been public outcry both for and against Mr. Brewton.”
***WARNING: The video below could be considered disturbing to some viewers. Please use discretion.***
[Featured image: WKMG video screengrab]