A man who shot his neighbor’s dog during an incident in southern Stafford County earlier this year is no longer facing charges.
Fred Asiedu, 26, went to Stafford General District Court Wednesday facing felony charges of maiming a dog and destruction of property and a misdemeanor charge of reckless handling of a firearm.
At the end of a preliminary hearing, Judge Angela O’Connor decided not to send the charges to circuit court for trial. O’Connor ruled that the evidence was insufficient even for probable cause, a much lower standard than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard required for an eventual conviction.
According to police and evidence put on by prosecutor Jennifer Lindsey, Asiedu went to Wilfredo Laboy’s home on Harper Lane on June 11 to discuss an incident earlier that day in which Asiedu claimed Laboy’s dogs got loose and forced him back into his vehicle to avoid an attack.
One of the dogs, an Australian shepherd, got out again after Laboy answered the knock at the door. He went toward Asiedu, who fired a single shot into the dog, which had to be put down as a result.
Asiedu immediately called the police and reported the incident. The ensuing investigation, which included a Ring video, resulted in his arrest a few days later.
But under cross examination from defense attorney Mark Murphy, Laboy admitted he was unaware that the dogs had gotten out earlier. Workers were doing a project in his yard and apparently didn’t properly secure a gate.
Murphy said his client had backed away after ringing the doorbell and shot only after feeling threatened by the approaching dog.
Lindsey still has the option seeking to have a grand jury directly indict Asiedu, which could result in the charges being reinstated.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404