by Sam Levin
Adrienne Martin, the woman who police say torched a dog to death, was out at a bar at the time of the incident and could not have been the one responsible for Brownie's death.
So says Martin's attorney, who is arguing that while the woman had expressed anger about the dog online, police have the wrong suspect behind bars.
"She wasn't the one who did it that night," attorney Philip Dennis tells Daily RFT. "She's definitely eager to get back to her family. Every time she's talked to me she's been in tears."
Daily RFT got a chance to speak with Dennis yesterday after publishing an item last week about a judge's decision not to reduce the woman's bond. In that post, we noted that the Stray Rescue of St. Louis alleges that Martin's family and supporters have been repeatedly harassing and intimidating the group.
Stray Rescue took care of Brownie in the final hours of his life. According to the group and police officials, Brownie was found chained up and very badly torched outside of a residence in north St. Louis. About two weeks after Brownie died from the horrible injuries, police arrested Martin, 35, accusing her of setting the animal on fire with the help of a man holding a gas can. This information came in part from a witness who police say identified her in a photo lineup.
The probable-cause statement -- outlining the felony animal-abuse charges -- says that Martin told police that it was her sister's dog and that the dog had bitten her son sending him to the hospital. She denied torching the dog at first, but eventually admitted "that she was responsible for the fire," the statement says.
Martin got a lot of attention in part because of some Facebook posts she published before and after Brownie's death that said things like, "I'm on killa mode .....#killdogs.com.....today.... #alldogsdontgoheaven.com," and, allegedly referencing news reports on the dog's death "#laughingeveryday."
Dennis, however, says that Martin was at the Harlem Tap Room that night and argues that there are employees who can verify this fact.
He also argues that it was very dark when the incident happened and that the witness who accused Martin could not have possibly seen through the bushes and positively identified the suspect.
"I hope people at Stray Rescue are more interested in finding out the truth," he says. "There might be someone capable of doing some real extreme horrifying acts that isn't in custody."
Dennis says that Martin did make the statements on Facebook -- Daily RFT published screenshots of the public messages here -- because she was very upset about the injuries the dog caused her son.
At least one other child was injured, he says. "We have photographs of the children. They are shocking. [Bites] all over their bodies. They don't qualify as nips. There are quite a few pictures. They are quite severe."
He says the dog belonged to a criminal who is behind bars and forced Martin's sister to take care of him.
"There were quite a few people, in fact, who had been hurt by this dog," he says. "Brownie was not a very friendly animal. He was raised by someone who is a criminal who basically raised the dog to be vicious."
"She was venting," he says of the Facebook posts.
Dennis also alleges that Martin's family went to a vigil for Brownie with photos of the children's injuries and that attendees there physically pushed them. "The mother of Adrienne Martin, who is an elderly woman and is very frail, was pushed forcibly."
He says that an individual who caused a scene in court last week -- fueling criticisms of harassment from Stray Rescue -- was not in anyway affiliated with Martin or the family.
Continue for response from Stray Rescue and for more photos and evidence.
Dennis says he is in the early stages of considering requesting a change in venue, because he is concerned Martin will not get a fair trial due to the intense outcry.
"Given the way the public has taken the ball and run with this, there's sort of a big question as to whether she can actually receive fair treatment here," he says. "I hope the justice system will do as it has done in my experience and will be fair and equitable."
He also argues that her $50,000 bond is unjustly higher than some suspects behind bars for violent crimes against humans.
"Harming people seems to be less severe...than harming an animal," he says.
Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue, argues that Dennis has already lied in front of a judge.
"He said that people from Stray Rescue have been calling his office and no one has ever even heard of him until that moment in court," Grim tells Daily RFT. "He brazenly lied to the court. Knowing that I saw him lie, I don't believe anything he has to say."
"The evidence is just overwhelming," Grim adds of the case against Martin, noting that police directly say she confessed.
Of the family's actions, he says, "The harassment is all documented."
"He's doing whatever he can for his defendant. That's what he's supposed to do," Grim says.
Responding to the argument that Brownie was violent, Grim says, "It's vigilante justice and after the fact, going and purposefully killing him in such an inhumane way. It was their dog, and it was their responsibility to take care of their dog."
He says that he does not know if any of the family's accusations are even true, adding, "All of that to me was a moot point. It doesn't justify breaking the law. It doesn't justify doing something so horrific."
Below are screenshots of Martin's Facebook posts, followed by more (warning: graphic) photos of Brownie and the full probable-cause statement.
From July 9 and July 10 (when police were called):
From July 14:
Continue for more photos and the probable-cause statement.