Woman pleads guilty as accessory in dog’s death
A Fruita woman pleaded guilty this morning to a federal charge of being an accessory after the fact in a dog’s death on Colorado National Monument.
Melissa Lockhart, 32, will face a maximum 18 months in federal prison during a sentencing hearing scheduled for Sept. 17 before U.S. District Judge Phillip Brimmer. Federal prosecutors this morning agreed to dismiss Lockhart’s original charge, withholding information of a crime, which carried a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
Lockhart was indicted in January by a grand jury related to the Dec. 30 death of Buddy, a dog killed by Lockhart’s brother, Steven Romero, 38.
She’s pleaded not guilty to state charges alleging she stole two dogs, including Buddy, from a truck in downtown Delta on Dec. 29.
Romero pleaded guilty April 29 to aggravated animal cruelty and faces a maximum three years in prison at his sentencing hearing in Denver on July 30.
Prosecutors alleged in court filings that Lockhart told her brother to get rid of Buddy after the dog killed a cat at Lockhart’s home.