HEBRON — A Hebron man accused of executing the family dog as his wife watched in their bedroom has been arraigned on four felony and three misdemeanor charges in Thayer County District Court.
Matthew E. Meyer, 27, pleaded not guilty to all seven counts in an appearance before District Judge Vicky Johnson. A pretrial conference is set for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 4, with a jury trial to be scheduled upon further order of the court.
Meyer remains in custody in the Thayer County Jail. Bond remains set at $500,000, with a 10-percent cash provision for bail.
Meyer is charged with possession of a deadly weapon by a felon or fugitive, a Class 1D felony; unlawful discharge of a firearm, a Class 1D felony; using a deadly weapon to commit a felony, a Class 2 felony; terroristic threats, a Class 4 felony; domestic assault, a Class 1 misdemeanor; child abuse, a Class 1 misdemeanor; and cruelty to animals, a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The Class 1D felonies carry maximum penalties of 3-50 years in prison. The Class 2 felony carries a maximum penalty of up to 50 years in prison. The Class 4 felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year’s incarceration and a $1,000 fine.
Meyer appeared at the hearing with his attorney, Joseph Casson of Fairbury. Thayer County Attorney Daniel Werner is prosecuting the case.
Meyer was arrested June 18 on a warrant following an incident June 16 at his Hebron residence. His wife, Sarah, had contacted authorities.
In an affidavit supporting the arrest warrant, Thayer County Sheriff David Lee said Meyer and his wife reportedly had been in their bedroom arguing about the dog, a miniature Doberman pinscher, when Meyer allegedly reached under the bed, pulled out a handgun and shot the dog in its kennel four times, killing it.
Mrs. Meyer later provided Lee with two shell casings from the handgun, a .380-caliber pistol. Upon investigation, Lee found blood inside the dog kennel, on the floor and on a dresser inside the bedroom.
Lee said that at the time of the incident, Mrs. Meyer had thought all her children — ranging in age from 6 to 10 years old — were outside playing. She later discovered, however, that her 9-year-old son had been in the basement playing a video game. One of the fired rounds reportedly struck about 3 feet from where the boy had been playing.
Meyer waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Thayer County Court July 14 and was bound over directly to district court.
He previously spent time in prison in Florida after being arrested in 2005 and convicted of aggravated battery using a deadly weapon, a felony. He was sentenced to one to three years in prison, plus 10 years’ probation.