Ashley Nicole Richards was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the torture and murder of numerous animals for sexual fetish films called crush videos. Judge Sim Lake had previously dismissed many of the charges against her, preposterously citing “freedom of speech,” but thankfully Richards was not so fortunate in the prosecution’s appeal.
According to Harris County District prosecuting attorney Devon Anderson, Richards made as many as 27 crush videos between February 2010 and August 2012, wherein she would torture puppies, kittens, fish, lobsters, crabs, mice, and a rabbit. She brutally used a meat cleaver, knives, screwdrivers, pliers, and stilettoes, often killing up to two animals a day.
PETA was alerted to the woman’s activities, and within 48 hours, police had located her Houston residence. She and roommate or boyfriend Brent Justice, who is believed to have filmed the videos, were arrested on charges of animal cruelty and obscenity.
Judge Lake dismissed charges against the heinous duo, claiming that while “the acts depicted in animal crush videos are disturbing and horrid, it is still considered protected speech.”
Despite the federal Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010 outlawing “any photograph, motion picture, film, video or digital recording, or electronic image that: (1) depicts actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury; and (2) is obscene,” Judge Lake felt the statute was too “overbroad” in nature, making it unconstitutional.
Four months later, prosecutors filed an appeal.
“As with child pornography, it is necessary to dry up the market in animal crush videos, which have little if any social value, in order to effectively prevent the criminal acts that necessarily occur when the videos are produced,” they stated.
This time Richards was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Brent Justice was also charged with animal cruelty and is being held on $50,000 bond.
“While we are satisfied that the defendant received the maximum penalty in these cases, we will fight at the next legislative session to increase the punishment range for this offense to better protect these animals and all citizens of Harris County,” Anderson said.