Chester County prosecutors want to send Gabe Pilotti to prison.
His crime? He shot two dogs to death that he claims were a threat to his livestock. In as polite a way as I can say it, that’s a crock. Anyone who has heard this story and heard Pilotti’s defense have rolled their eyes as high as can be rolled in a human head.
No one believes his story. I’m not sure even his attorney believes it and I’m certain in a bar over a beer or two the lawyer would give it up as well.
And despite all the do-gooder stories we heard about Pilotti’s life and what a good guy he is, he’s the Michael Vick of Chester County. I don’t care how many benefits Vick attends, how many kids he meets, how many hospital visits he makes, Vick will always be a dog killer.
And Gabe Pilotti is no different.
“Mr. Pilotti is a kind, generous and non-violent man which makes his actions on Feb. 12, 2013 difficult to understand,” a defense memo, which was filed Wednesday, states. His “reaction was admittedly an overreaction which resulted from the carnage he witnessed” earlier. That’s from his lawyer, Thomas Ramsay.
Gabe Pilotti is a bully, someone who is a tough guy with a gun in his hands. Does anyone believe those two dogs were any kind of threat? It’s a great defense tactic to try but no one believed it then and no one believes it now.
Gabriel Pilotti “has never accepted any amount of responsibility” for killing the two dogs, Argus and Fiona, that he found in a sheep pasture at the rear of his Chester Springs home in February, Assistant District Attorney Kevin Pierce said in the sentencing memorandum filed with Common Pleas Court Senior Judge Ronald Nagle earlier this month.
Pilotti, of West Vincent, shot and killed his neighbor’s two pet Bernese Mountain dogs in one of the most cowardly acts a person can commit.
Prosecutors say Pilotti gloated about the shootings to a neighbor and took the case to trial, asserting that he had the right to shoot the dogs, Pierce wrote.
“On Feb. 12, (Pilotti) killed two family pets without any attempt to diffuse the situation,” Pierce wrote in his seven-page memo, filed on Oct. 16. “The killing was cold, callous, and calculated” and his failure to take responsibility for “this malicious killing” should result in his incarceration, the prosecutor said.
Pilotti’s defense attorney, however, said in his memo to Nagle that his client had indeed shown remorse for the shooting in a number of ways, and had simply exercised his right to trial because he believed that his actions that day were justified to prevent the dogs from attacking his sheep. No, his arrogance took him to trial because he believed then and now that he has the right to shoot first and ask questions later.
What if he saw little children out there chasing his livestock and took them for animals? Would he have shot them too?
Ramsay said Pilotti has written a letter of apology to the owners of the two dogs, William and Mary Bock, and has told authorities that he “was sick about the matter.”
If you ask me, the only reason he was sick about it was because he got caught and faces potential jail time. Thinking of sitting in a small cell in the county jail will do that to a person.
Ramsay asked Nagle to grant his client leniency and reject the prosecution’s call for prison, instead ordering him to serve probation and perform substantial community service at the Chester County SPCA. Such a sentence “would serve as an appropriate sentence for Mr. Pilotti and at the same time take into consideration the type of life he had led and the type of man he is,” the memo stated.
No, I wouldn’t send him to prison either. I’m a little nervous, though, having him around any other animals.
Sentencing is scheduled for Monday at the Chester County Criminal Justice Center.
Here are some highlights – or lowlights – of this horrific act from a story written by Michael Rellahan:
“According to police reports and the testimony at trial, Pilotti had just come home from his job at FedEx in Montgomery County around 11:30 a.m. Feb. 12 when he looked out a kitchen window and saw a dog in his backyard pasture. Given his earlier experience with the pit bulls, he said he feared the same type of attack was about to happen.
“Pilotti, 73, who considered himself a dedicated and caring shepherd, went to his garage and got a 20-guage shotgun he kept there. He loaded the weapon, went to the pasture and shot Argus, the male dog, who was coming towards him. The single shot to the head killed Argus instantly.
“He then noticed a second dog, Fiona, running away from a group of ewes and lams that it had cornered near a small barn. He reloaded the weapon, fired another shot, striking Fiona in the upper body. The dog limped for several feel before collapsing and dying.”
If that’s not enough to make you sick…
At his trial, a jury found him guilty of two counts of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor.
But Ramsay also pointed out that Pilotti had suffered from harassment and threats since the shootings, and that he had become concerned about his personal safety when he leaves the house. Most recently, a 17-year-old was cited for throwing an empty plastic bottle at him while he walked along Hollow Road on Sept. 28.
Well, we all know people don’t take kindly to other people blasting animals with guns.
Also, in recounting Pilotti’s background, Ramsay noted how long he had been raising and caring for sheep, and how committed he had been to living a born-again Christian life. Pilotti has even made it a practice over the years to allow young men and women to live in his home while they straighten out their personal lives, Ramsay said.
More than five-dozen people wrote letters to Nagle on Pilotti’s behalf, speaking of his personal character and urging the judge to treat him with leniency.
“He is a good man who made bad decisions that day,” Ramsay wrote. “If Mr. Pilotti’s case leads the separate groups to sit down and try to find a way to peacefully co-exist in their bucolic semi-rural township so that something like this does not happen again then the impact of Mr. Pilotti’s actions upon the community would actually be favorable, not detrimental.”
Uh, no way. Not now, not ever.
Mr. Pilotti is a horrible person who did a horrible thing. Live with it man.
— Andy Hachadorian