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The People v. Ryan Paul Junaid

December 7, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
RYAN PAUL JUNAID, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 62086711)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hoch , J.

P. v. Junaid

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Defendant Ryan Paul Junaid tortured and killed several guinea pigs and discarded their mutilated bodies in front of his neighbor's house. He captured the suffering of two of these animals on video. The video depicts defendant gaining pleasure by successively torturing two guinea pigs with a pair of needle nose pliers. Defendant pled no contest to two counts of animal cruelty (Pen. Code, § 597, subd. (a))*fn1 and admitted to personally using a deadly or dangerous weapon in the commission of the crimes (§ 12022, subd. (b)(1)). Twelve additional animal cruelty counts were dismissed and defendant was placed on five years formal probation.

Having secured a certificate of probable cause, defendant appeals from the trial court's denial of his motion to withdraw his plea. He claims the trial court abused its discretion by denying this motion because the torture and mutilation of the guinea pigs depicted in the video amounted to "a single course of conduct on a single occasion" supporting a single conviction for violating section 597, subdivision (a). We disagree and affirm defendant's convictions. We must, however, remand the matter to the trial court with directions to prepare an amended probation minute order specifying the statutory bases for all fines, fees and penalties imposed upon defendant.

BACKGROUND

In December 2008, a police surveillance team was set up outside a Roseville home to investigate reports that someone was leaving dead guinea pigs in front of the house. Unaware of their presence, defendant drove past the house and threw the mutilated corpse of a guinea pig out of his vehicle. The animal had been sliced open and dismembered. Defendant was immediately pulled over and consented to a search of the vehicle. Police found a cardboard box containing a live guinea pig with most of its fur missing and the amputated limbs of another guinea pig. The live guinea pig was taken to the animal hospital, where the veterinarian confirmed the animal had been burned and bruised.

Defendant admitted to buying about 20 guinea pigs from local pet stores during the previous six months and said that he had killed and mutilated most of them. According to defendant, he "killed them in a variety of ways," which "gave him a high like when he was doing Oxycontin."

A subsequent search of defendant's home uncovered a video capturing two incidents in which defendant used a pair of needle nose pliers to torture, mutilate and kill two guinea pigs. The video is 30 minutes in length. Defendant tortured the first guinea pig for about 24 minutes. During this period of time, he burned the guinea pig with a cigarette, sodomized it with the pliers, used the pliers to break two of the animal's legs, stabbed the guinea pig in the left eye, broke off the animal's teeth one at a time, and disemboweled the animal through its distended anus. Defendant finally ended the animal's life by crushing its jaw with the pliers, punctuating this portion of the video by stabbing the guinea pig in the chest and saying: "That's what you get."*fn2

After committing these acts of cruelty against the first guinea pig, defendant began anew with a fresh guinea pig. The video cuts off about six minutes into this second round of mutilation.

Based on the conduct depicted in the video, defendant pled no contest to two counts of animal cruelty and admitted to personally using a deadly or dangerous weapon in the commission of the crimes. Twelve additional animal cruelty counts were dismissed and defendant was placed on five years formal probation. ...


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