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3 jailed for setting opossums on fire

Associated Press

FORT DODGE, Iowa -- Three Fort Dodge men will spend 30 days in jail for setting opossums on fire and videotaping the act.

Anthony Herrington, 20, David Bendickson, 19, and Kevin Calderon, 20, were sentenced Wednesday in Webster County after pleading guilty to two counts of animal torture.

Each was given a one-year jail sentence, with all but 30 days suspended, and were ordered to serve 80 hours of community service in an animal shelter.

"This exhibition of sadism should worry the defendants about their own character," said District Court Judge Frederick Breen as he issued the sentences.

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The trio faced up to four years in prison, but Breen said their psychiatric evaluations and prior behavior indicate they likely would not be repeat offenders.

Each defendant apologized before being sentenced. Herrington called their actions a "horrible decision." Calderon said the hardest part was disappointing his parents.

"Never before have I harmed a single animal," Herrington said.

Prosecutors began the hearing by playing the tape, which shows the trio dousing two opossums in lighter fluid and burning them in rural Webster County in May or June. The tape was submitted to a humor Web site, eBaumsworld.com, and eventually reached authorities.

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