Attack on officer, K-9 brings 40-year sentence

Attack on officer, K-9 brings 40-year sentence
Posted at 6:22 PM, Mar 28, 2016

COVINGTON, Ky. -- A man convicted of shooting a police dog in April 2015 was sentenced Monday to 40 years in prison.

Daleon T. Rice pleaded guilty in February to attempted murder of a police officer, assault on a service animal and first-degree assault. He was found to be a persistent felony offender in the first degree, as well.

Rice admitted in court to stabbing his mother in the head during a domestic dispute in April 2015. When Covington Police Officer Michael Lusardi attempted an arrest three days later, Rice opened fire on Lusardi and his K-9 partner, Ernie, injuring the service dog.

That shooting led to a five-hour overnight manhunt.

In addition to the 40-year sentence for the attacks on Lusardi and his animal partner, Rice was given a 40-year sentence, to be served at the same time, for the attack on his mother.

Although Ernie returned to service two weeks after he was shot, Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders said that the penalty for shooting the dog should be stiffer: “(U)nder Kentucky law, attempted murder, even of a police officer, is a ‘non-violent offense’ when the victim is not seriously injured (and)... shooting a police K-9 is only a misdemeanor unless the dog is killed or unable to return to service.”

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Calling these “glaring problems with Kentucky law,” Sanders said he was working with Kentucky State Senator Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, to amend Kentucky’s revised statutes so such offenses come with stricter penalties.