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Jury convicts Wolfeboro woman of animal cruelty charges in Great Dane case

Union Leader Correspondent

March 12. 2018 3:42PM
Christina Fay, right, listens during her trial on animal cruelty charges as a defense expert is questioned. (Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent)

OSSIPEE – A Wolfeboro woman accused of mistreating as many as 75 Great Danes was found guilty by a jury Monday of 15 counts of animal cruelty.

Judge Amy Ignatius returned two other guilty verdicts to the jury after an error was found on a form, ordering the jurors to deliberate again on those two charges.

Ignatius had thanked the jury for their service and was about to dismiss them, when prosecutor Steven Briden asked to approach the bench. After conferring with Fay’s three-member defense team, Briden and co-prosecutor Simon Brown, the judge announced that there was an error in the verdict form that had been provided to the jury.

She explained while the changes had been made in the instructions read to the jury before they began deliberating, similar edits had not been made to the verdict form potentially causing some confusion as to what dogs were linked to what charges in two of their complaints.

The judge instructed the jury to re-deliberate the two charges that were impacted by the error.

It took the seven men and five women three hours and 15 minutes over two days to find Christina Fay, 59, guilty of the Class A misdemeanors.

Fay showed no emotion as the jury foreman repeatedly replied guilty as the court clerk asked for a verdict on each charge.

“I live in a state where the governor had a comment about this case before the jury even came back,” Fay said just before the jury had signaled it had reached a verdict at 11 a.m. “I find that heartbreaking, really heartbreaking,” she said.

Each Class A misdemeanors is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. Sentencing will be held at a later date.

In closing statements March 9, prosecutor Steven Briden quoted Fay as she had been arrested.

“‘I’m sorry. I know this looks bad. Don’t take my dogs,’” he told the jury. “Those are the statements from a woman who knew the conditions in her home were such that her dogs were going to be taken away,” he said.

Crime Ossipee Wolfeboro

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