Florida teen sentenced to 25 years for crimes including fatally shooting K-9 dog

Florida teen Jhamel Malik Paskel will spend the next two decades in jail after being charged as an adult for various crimes including killing a police dog

A Jacksonville, Florida teenager will spend more than two decades in jail after he was tried as an adult for a crime spree that included the death of a police dog.

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According to Jacksonville.com, Jhamel Paskel was 17 in 2018 when he carjacked two women at gunpoint at a gas station, kidnapped them, and made one drive to another location. The OnStar device in the woman’s Chevrolet Cruze helped lead police to their location and Paskel was surrounded once OnStar remotely turned off the car’s engine.

Jhamel Paskel thegrio.com
Jhamel Paskel (Credit: Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office)

When Paskel tried to flee, Fang, a K-9 dog, belonging to Ofc. Matt Herrera of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was sent after him. Paskel shot and killed the dog. Ultimately, Paskel was captured by another officer’s dog.

Now 19, Paskel ultimately pled guilty in the case and received five years for killing the dog and 20 years for the other five charges. He will have to serve 10 years probation after he’s released. A judge said Paskel may be able to do just five years of probation if terms, including participating in a diversionary program and staying employed, are met.

Though Paskel was only sentenced to five years for killing Fang in 2019, the Florida legislature made it easier to sentence people to longer terms who kill animals who work with law enforcement or first responders, reports News4Jax.com. The crime is now a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years, up from five originally.

Though his mother offered testimony that she’d tried to help her son with learning disabilities and a drug problem, his sentence was still 10 years longer than what his defense attorney asked for.

“I would like to offer my apologies and condolences to Officer Herrera for not only the killing of his K-9 partner Fang, but his best friend,” Paskel said in court in a sentencing hearing earlier this month. “I want to apologize to the victims for scaring them that night. And I owe my mother the biggest apology for letting her down.”

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Though Paskel had the option to go to trial as any criminal suspect has the right to do, 94% of state criminal cases are settled by plea bargain, not a jury trial, according to The Atlantic.

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