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    Suspect in llama attack faces new charge

    By ED QUIOCO

    © St. Petersburg Times, published February 15, 2001


    An East Lake resident already charged with felony cruelty to animals in the beatings of two pet llamas was charged Wednesday in a Dec. 9 burglary of the Tarpon Springs Driving Range on U.S. 19.

    Robert B. Pettyjohn Jr., 18, of 594 Ranch Road, confessed to the burglary in a written statement, said Tarpon Springs Detective Khris Walguarnery.

    Pettyjohn was arrested on charges of domestic simple battery and domestic simple assault Sunday night after getting into a fight with a relative. Monday evening, Pettyjohn told Pinellas sheriff's detectives that he had taken part in beatings that killed one pet llama and severely injured another before dawn Sunday, authorities said.

    In his statement to police, Pettyjohn said he was the lookout for the burglary, which took place about 1:30 a.m., Walguarnery said. Pettyjohn and another Tarpon Springs resident stole 10 golf clubs worth about $800, authorities said.

    Authorities charged David J. Sullivan Jr., of 825 Cypress St. E, with burglary and dealing in stolen property about a week ago in connection with his part in the burglary.

    As the store's alarm blared, Sullivan ran into the store and grabbed "two handfuls of clubs," Walguarnery said. Sullivan, who turns 19 later this month, broke his ankle as he left the store.

    Pettyjohn helped Sullivan hobble to the getaway car and drove him to a hospital.

    Pettyjohn remained Wednesday at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of a $25,000 bail on the four charges.

    The Sheriff's Office has accused a second person in the llama beatings. Brandon Eldred, 17, of East Lake, is charged with two counts of felony cruelty to animals and one count of armed trespass.

    Eldred was found walking in the neighborhood where the llamas lived carrying a broken golf club and wearing a blood-spattered shirt.

    - Staff writer Ed Quioco can be reached at (727) 445-4183 or quioco@sptimes.com.

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