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Man arrested for killing Tommie, the dog set on fire in a Richmond park

Posted at 3:58 PM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-20 19:00:19-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Police arrested a man accused of killing Tommie -- a dog set on fire in a Richmond park.

Jyahshua A. Hill, 20, of St. Peter Street, was arrested Monday by the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force and charged with felony animal cruelty.

"There are a lot of people to thank, but I’d like to single out all the citizens who contributed tips that pointed us in the right direction," Interim Richmond Police Chief William C. Smith said. "That, plus the excellent job done by arson investigators who did the bulk of the work, major crimes detectives, forensics technicians and animal control officers who all built a strong case to present to the grand jury.”

Tommie was found tied to an Abner Clay Park fence and set on fire the night of February 10, 2019.

He was treated at Virginia Veterinary Center on Cary Street, but died February 15, five days after he was set on fire.

"The incident sparked widespread outrage," a Richmond Police spokesperson said. "Investigators are crediting an outpouring of information and assistance from the general public that helped them solve this crime."

Outrage over Tommie's death also prompted Virginia lawmakers to pass legislation dubbed "Tommie's Law" that made animal cruelty a felony in Virginia. Prior to the legislation, the animal had to die as a direct result of the torture or inhumane injury before a suspect faced a felony charge.

A reward of up to $25,000 was offered for information in the case that leads to an arrest and conviction.

This is a developing story.

Anyone with information to share about this case is asked to contact RFD Fire Investigator Lt. B. Dalrymple at 804 646-5421 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.