Man charged with animal torture withdraws guilty plea, case to go to trial
He admitted he was guilty, but now he says he’s not. Edward Ream is the Ballard County man charged with animal cruelty and criminal mischief. In December, as part of a plea deal, Ream admitted he poisoned dogs in his neighborhood with anti-freeze.
He was in court Friday for sentencing, but instead withdrew his guilty plea. His attorney said he had issues with paying restitution. As part of his plea deal, the court decided he would have to pay two families a total of $2,000.
Ballard County Judge Tim Langford gave him a chance to stick by his guilty plea. That’s because the judge warned Ream the commonwealth could use the guilty plea as evidence in trial. He said he didn’t have to grant Ream’s request to withdraw the plea, but said he would anyway.
Ream’s attorney, Jeremy Ian Smith, said his case would hinge on getting that plea thrown out of the trial. "I give my clients advice," Smith said, "They decide what to do based off of that. I work for them; they don’t work for me. It’s their lives."
Commonwealth Attorney Mike Stacy said they’ll proceed with the case, but it won’t be easy for those who thought it was over. "It’s gonna pull off at scab again, and they’re going to have to gear up work with me and will get ready for trial," he said.
Before Friday, as part of Ream’s plea deal he faced 10 years of probation. But now, Ream faces 20 years in prison, and Stacy said they will not offer any plea at trial.
Until the trial, Ream will have a curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Ream’s trial is scheduled for May.