November 8, 2017

MARATHON — The retrial of a Key Largo man accused of severely beating his dog in 2010 began Monday in the Middle Keys courthouse. 

Noah Mitchell, 40, had been previously tried and convicted for animal cruelty, but his conviction was overturned after an appellate court found the prosecutor improperly shifted the burden of proof onto the defense during closing arguments.

Witnesses described in graphic detail to the police the beating that Mitchell delivered to his dog, “Bubba.” A veterinary examination of the dog later showed a collapsed lung and esophagus.

Mitchell maintained his pet’s injuries were accidental. He was sentenced to jail for nine months but wasn’t required to serve time pending his appeal.

Since his last trial, Mitchell has been assigned a new judge, prosecutor and defense attorney. He faces a third-degree felony of animal cruelty, which carries a jail sentence of up to one year and a $5,000 penalty.

Bubba made a full recovery and was adopted by Monroe County Sheriff Sgt. Tom Kiffney.