RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT/WHSV) — The man charged with burning a dog alive in Richmond faced a judge for the first time Tuesday morning.
Jyahshua Hill, 20, of Richmond was arraigned in Richmond Circuit Court. Hill is charged with felony animal cruelty, after Tommie the pit bull was killed back in February.
Tommie was tied to a fence in Abner Clay Park, doused with flammable liquid, and then set on fire. The black-and-white pit bull died five days later.
But in those five days, while he was being treated at Richmond Animal Care and Control, his case drew worldwide support
Months later, Hill was arrested on the afternoon of May 20 by the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force and charged with felony animal cruelty. Investigators credited information from the community with helping officers solve the case.
Jyahshua Hill’s wife was in court on Tuesday and said she has information that someone falsely gave her husband’s name to police, so they could cash in on the $25,000 reward offered for information leading to an arrest in the case.
"The accusation is very false,” she said.
Hill’s wife asked that her identity not be revealed for safety reasons. She said she had never seen the dog before. She is pregnant with Hill’s first child, and also has multiple other young children living in her home.
"I've experienced a lot of threats to me and my family," said Hill's wife. "That people are going to burn my apartment down... hang my kids, burn my kids alive. I just want it to stop."
Hill was assigned a court-appointed attorney and is scheduled to appear in court again for a bond hearing on June 3.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has assigned two attorneys to Hill's case – one with expertise in arson and the other in animal cruelty prosecutions.
Anyone with information in connection to the case is still asked to call RFD Fire Investigator Lt. B. Dalrymple at 804 646-5421 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.