Judge hands down 44 year sentence to man convicted of killing po - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Judge hands down 44 year sentence to man convicted of killing police dog

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22-year-old John Rush was sentenced to 17-44 years in prison for killing a police dog. 22-year-old John Rush was sentenced to 17-44 years in prison for killing a police dog.
PITTSBURGH -

A man convicted of killing a Pittsburgh Police K9 was sentenced this week to up to 44 years in prison. 

Judge Jill Rangos gave 22-year-old John Rush 17 to 44 years in prison for stabbing a K9 named Rocco in the basement of an apartment last year. Judge Rangos cited Rush's "significant and concerning history of violence" when announcing her decision. 

During the trial, Rocco's partner, Officer Phil Lerza, was called to testify and said, "I lost my partner and family member." 

Officer Lerza and other officers were injured in January 2014 when police were trying to arrest Rush for an outstanding warrant. Officer Lerza said he was happy with the sentence. 

Rush told the jury he only wanted to protect himself and never meant to kill the dog. Rush has 10 days to file an appeal. 

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