Twenty-three-year-old Kelontre Barefield, who shot and killed police dog Jethro in a Canton burglary last year, was sentenced to 45 years in prison Wednesday.
Thirty-four years of the sentence were for the incident that resulted in Jethro's death. Eleven additional years were tacked on for four burglaries and an aggravated robbery charge, to which Barefield pleaded guilty.
Stark County officials were reportedly pleased with the sentencing, happy to get a dangerous repeat offender off the streets. Barefield had served time in 2013 on burglary and vandalism charges. On the flip side, the Canton Repository reported that Barefield was unhappy
with his legal representation.
Though he signed a plea deal, Barefield said "he felt his attorneys were there for a paycheck and that he had asked for multiple things that hadn't been provided to him. The courtroom was cleared, and after Barefield spoke privately with his attorneys — who are public defenders — the hearing resumed."
One of the reasons Barefield's case was settled before a trial was because his lawyers knew finding a local impartial jury would be difficult, given the media frenzy surrounding Jethro's death.
National outlets picked up the story
of the heroic police dog who died in the line of duty (and who also was a companion pet to Canton officer Ryan Davis.)
“I would trade places with him in a heartbeat,” Davis said when Jethro died. “Absolutely, because I wouldn’t have to sit here and suffer over the loss of him. He’s left a hole that will never be filled. He gave his life for me.”
Stark County Common Pleas Judge Kristen Farmer may have been swayed by the media coverage as well.
She called Barefield's actions "intolerable" and said that the 45-year-sentence
"reflects not only the seriousness of Jethro's death and the fact that he shot at two officers but also the terror inflicted on victims of the burglaries and aggravated robbery."
Still, six years is the maximum penalty allowed by the state for shooting Jethro.