Judge rules mistrial in animal torture case

Judge Tim Langford declared a mistrial and released 12 jurors from Edward Ream’s trial. Ream is accused of poisoning neighborhood pets with antifreeze since 1999 in Ballard County, Kentucky.

He was charged with animal torture in February, a class D felony, and has been out on bond ever since. As for how the mistrial happened, Langford said it was an error in jury selection. He said that, for whatever reason, the accident happened. Neighbors who were hoping for an outcome Monday say they’ll just have to be patient.

As his best friend, Otis trails Matt Haney around work at Hillbilly Stills, but Haney remembers when his other pup, Hannah, fell ill and passed away almost 15 years ago. Haney was initially brought on as a witness in the case. But, because of how long ago Hannah died, the court applied the statute of limitations and Haney was dismissed as a witness. He still believes Ream is the one responsible for poisoning her.

"Everyone knew," Haney said. "He made no bones about it. He made it very clear he didn’t like dogs and would get rid of them."

Fifteen years later, Haney says he still wants to see justice for Hannah and his neighbors who saw their dogs go through the same sickness.

"I don’t hold grudges, and I’m not a vengeful-type person, but he’s done this for long enough and shows zero remorse," Haney says.

He says they’ve been patient for this long and will have to be patient a while longer.

As for how the mistrial happened, the two lawyers can strike, or get rid of any eight jurors, during jury selection. But one struck juror ended up on the final jury panel. I spoke with prosecuting Commonwealth Attorney Michael Stacy and defense attorney Jeremy Ian Smith and asked if this would affect the next trial. They each said no, and that they’d rather the trial be done correctly.

"We’re going to try this case, unless the defendant pleas, but we’re going to try this case regardless," Stacy said.

"At the end of the day, this is what you’d want instead having to go through a trial with a juror you had struck," Smith said.

Ream will continue living under the conditions of his bond, a six and a half hour curfew, until the trial. Ream’s next pre-trial date is set for Dec. 4, where they will schedule another trial date.

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