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Bond granted in puppy killing

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The case, in the words of prosecutors, was enough to make a cop cry.

On June 17, in an upstairs apartment on Springs Lane in Norcross, police found the aftermath of animal abuse at its worst: A blood-spattered living quarters and a dead Bull Mastiff/Pit Bull mix named "Smoke," estimated to be about 3 months old, authorities said.

On Friday, the man accused of throwing the animal into cabinets and stopping and kicking the life out if it came before a Superior Court judge, asking for bond.

Jailed for two months, Melvin Rosser, 37, the apartment's tenant, had planned to plead guilty to felony animal cruelty charges but balked at the last minute. Instead the details of his arrest were aired as part of his bond hearing.

A neighbor called police after allegedly witnessing Rosser, who she'd seen vent his aggressions on his puppy in the past, throw and beat the animal near his bathroom. The witness, a downstairs neighbor, rushed the dog to a hospital, but it died en route, said Assistant District Attorney Ayanna Sterling-Jones.

The animal had urinated on Rosser's floor and chewed on furniture, which set Rosser off, the prosecutor said.

A responding officer who arrested Rosser at the scene cried during a probable cause hearing when recounting what was observed at the apartment, Sterling-Jones noted.

"It was a gruesome scene, your honor," she said.

A necropsy later confirmed the animal died of blunt force trauma.

Defense attorney Rocky Remson pointed out that his client's only criminal history involves a bar fight and drug convictions in Florida and Maryland. He asked for a $5,000 bond. The state opposed bond altogether.

In an effort to convince the judge Rosser wouldn't flee, Remson said his client had held a steady job at Trader Joe's in Suwanee, and has numerous ties to the community.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Hamil granted a $15,000 bond on conditions that Rosser have no contact with the alleged witness or keep any pets in his residence.

Rosser's supporters in the courtroom indicated that coming up with 10 percent of that bond, the cash amount required for release, would be difficult.

Rosser will face up to five years in prison, Sterling-Jones said.