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Accused dog killer indicted

LAWRENCEVILLE - Long before Michael Vick's legal woes, there were 14 dead puppies packed into a pillowcase in Buford.

The man accused of killing those animals is one step closer to a trial this week.

A grand jury has indicted Norcross resident John Phillip Peace, 41, on 14 counts of animal cruelty for allegedly beating the pups to death on Dec. 19, 2005.

Each count is a felony in Georgia.

Investigators arrested Peace about two weeks after a resident found the puppies in a pillowcase at the entrance of Hillcrest Glenn Subdivision in Buford.

Animal Control officers canvassed the neighborhood and found enough evidence to charge Peace, who owned the dogs. He admitted the puppies belonged to him but denied any wrongdoing, police said at the time.

In addition to the puppies, the pillowcase contained a 10-pound weight. Police said the weight was likely used to beat the animals to death.

Investigators said the puppies appeared to be a mixed Labrador breed from the same litter.

The puppies are labeled "A" to "N" in the indictment released Thursday. Most of the animals died from skull fractures. Others had broken ribs, mandibles and various other injuries. Puppy "H" suffered fractures to its "entire body," according to the indictment.

The 2005 police report detailing Peace's arrest was unavailable Thursday, said Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman.

Following his arrest on animal cruelty charges, Peace posted a $32,200 bond and was released from the Gwinnett County Jail. He's been arrested in Gwinnett on separate charges twice since then.

In July 2006, Peace was charged with multiple counts of battery and cruelty to children. The following month, police arrested him again on charges of battery and obstruction of law enforcement.

Peace could not be reached for comment Thursday.