JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville teen involved in the burglary last fall of a police officer's home, during which the officer's car was stolen and his dog shot, accepted a plea deal Thursday.
Patrick Joseph Bell, 15, pleaded guilty in court to a count of burglary to a dwelling and possession of cocaine, both felonies, as part of a pre-trial agreement with prosecutors.
The State Attorney's Office did not pursue aggravated assault and auto theft charges in the case, citing the lack of evidence against Bell.
Bell was sentenced to spend 9-12 months in a high-risk juvenile detention program and remain on court-ordered probation until he turns 21. In addition, he was ordered to pay $4,000 restitution.
In October 2016, the Murray Hill home of Jacksonville Sheriff's Detective Paul Shaw was broken into, his Toyota pickup was stolen and his beloved dog, Hemingway, was shot in the jaw.
Shaw returned to find his house ransacked and a trail of blood inside. Hemingway, the truck and some guns were gone. Search parties found the dog, bloodied but alive, nearby three days later.
The dog had surgery to remove part of his jaw because of the gunshot wound to his snout, which shattered some teeth. But Affiliated Veterinary Specialists in Orange Park did the operation for free.
Bell, then 14, was arrested after authorities said he crashed Shaw's pickup while fleeing police.
In court Thursday, Shaw admonished Bell and wondered aloud why it was his home that was burglarized. He also implored the teen to seize the opportunity provided by the plea bargain.
"I'm here to tell you to take advantage of another opportunity the State Attorney's Office and court system have given you because if I have any influence over the system, you won't get another chance," Shaw said.