An ugly, sad story

From an editorial Wednesday in the (Fayetteville) Observer:

It’s ugly. It’s sad. In hindsight, that was all we were ever likely to get.

Jarren Heng, a Fort Bragg soldier, pleaded guilty Tuesday to having a gun on a school property and conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals. The 25-year-old was sentenced to 6 to 17 months in prison, but the sentence was suspended. He will be on supervised probation for a year and must perform community service at an animal shelter. He was ordered to continue psychiatric counseling.

What Heng did outraged millions of people. He and his girlfriend, 23-year-old Marinna Rollins, an Army veteran suffering from PTSD, tied her emotional-support dog to a tree and killed it with 10 rifle shots. They made a cellphone video of the dog’s execution and posted it on Facebook, where it circulated widely. Shortly after, Rollins committed suicide.

While Heng’s apparently light sentence raised an uproar, Harnett County prosecutors said it was the maximum the law allowed for those charges. They are felony charges that will likely end his military career.

But there is nothing positive that comes from this saga, save, perhaps, a sad reminder of the depravity we humans are capable of.