After evaluating Anthony Doyle last month, Dr. Robert Rush said the alleged dog killer is competent to stand trial in Ohio County Circuit Court on a charge of animal cruelty.
Doyle, 28, of Wheeling is charged with two counts of animal cruelty. He has been lodged in the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville in lieu of $25,000 bond since his arrest on Aug. 5.
At the request of Doyle's attorney, Chris Scheetz, Rush evaluated Doyle on Dec. 20 at the jail. The specific findings of that evaluation were sealed before being filed with the Ohio County Circuit Clerk's Office.
Doyle waived his right to be tried during this term of court, which concludes next week, and Circuit Judge James Mazzone scheduled a new trial for Feb. 27-28. Parties will meet for a pretrial hearing Feb. 15.
Scheetz and Ohio County Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Turak agreed that because of the nature of the case and the media attention it has received, the court would be prudent to convene a larger jury pool. The court will choose a jury from 75 prospective candidates, compared to the 35 that are called for in a typical criminal case.
Scheetz and Turak also may compose a juror questionnaire to expedite the jury selection process. Mazzone ordered that questionnaire be submitted to his office no later than two weeks prior to the first day of the trial.
According to police, Doyle allegedly beat his former girlfriend's 18-month-old Shih Tzu to death while alone with the dog at the woman's home on Wheeling Island in August.
A neighbor told police she witnessed the crime. The woman said she heard a dog crying before she saw Doyle beating the animal on the back porch of a South Wabash Street residence.
About one hour later, the woman heard the dog crying again. She then saw Doyle "dive on the dog and punch it until it went limp," the police report states. Doyle then dumped the dog's body in a weeded area near the house, the witness told police.
Officers found the deceased dog where the witness said Doyle had abandoned it. They also observed "blood spatter throughout the apartment," the report states.
Police said Doyle appeared to be intoxicated.