The man who shot Sacramento police dog Bodie is dead, but Sacramento prosecutors are going hard after the suspect's girlfriend, who was ordered to stand trial Wednesday for the attempted murder of the dog's handler.
At the end of the two-day preliminary hearing, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette asked lawyers about working out a deal, but Deputy District Attorney Tate Davis said his office won't settle for anything less than a 15-years-to-life sentence on Leslie Marie McCulley.
Pale and pigtailed, the 29-year-old McCulley wept when she heard that news. Her lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Rachel Engle, said there's no way they would agree to an indeterminate life term. So Marlette set the case for a March 5 trial.
Prosecutors charged McCulley under the theory she aided and abetted her boyfriend, Lucus Jerome Webb, 33, when he fired on Bodie, following a car chase and foot pursuit in Land Park.
McCulley also shared Webb's intent, the DA's Office says, when he aimed his .357 pistol at the K-9's handler, Officer Randy Van Dusen, and popped off at least one shot in his direction.
Van Dusen's testimony Wednesday recounted the May 18 violent standoff in the backyard of a house in the 1100 block of Robertson Way, where he and Bodie cornered Webb, an ex-convict with a record of weapons charges.
According to police testimony, Webb, known to his friends by his nickname of "Ninja," also had bragged about shooting cops and boasted he'd never allow himself to be pulled over by one.
The officer said he'd been up on the north side when the call went out about a pursuit in the Hollywood Park-Land Park area. Van Dusen and Bodie rolled south and saw a fellow officer talking to a man and woman near Riverside Boulevard and Regina Way. When the pair bolted, Van Dusen lowered a window and gave Bodie the command to get the guy.
By the time Van Dusen caught up with the dog and Webb on Robertston Way, Bodie "was apprehending him by the lower part of (his) body," Van Dusen testified.
Then the man turned on the dog.
"I heard a gunshot," Van Dusen said. "I heard Bodie yelp."
Van Dusen said he knew it was a really bad situation by the foul odor that emitted from the stressed K-9's scent glands. The officer said he moved right so the gunman couldn't get a straight shot at him.
When a second shot did ring out with a bullet striking the garage wall behind Van Dusen, according to police testimony the officer said, "I was drawing my weapon and returning fire."
Multiple rounds from the officer's gun left Webb dead in the yard.
Bodie, meanwhile, limped away with a bloody paw and blood pouring from his mouth. Van Dusen said he yelled "car," and Bodie hobbled back to the police vehicle. The dog still had enough left in him to jump up and through the window, the officer testified.
Six months later, Bodie still has a paw in a cast, with two metal plates surgically inserted into its middle toe, Van Dusen said outside of court.
The officer said the shot to the face took out the left lower portion of the dog's jaw, but that Bodie is eating fine now. The cast is scheduled to come off in four weeks. Sometime after that, Van Dusen said, Bodie will return to action.
In holding McCulley to answer, Judge Marlette cited her own words from a tape-recorded jailhouse conversation played in court Wednesday. On the tape, McCulley told an acquaintance that she told Webb while they were running from the police something to the effect that he needed to "get out" his gun or "toss it" to her.
"It does appear to me that she was encouraging him, that she was the boss of him," Marlette said.
According to further police testimony at the preliminary hearing, McCulley and Webb and two other men had driven to Sacramento from Chico in a stolen car, apparently to make a marijuana deal.
In Sacramento, a city police officer identified the car as stolen and gave chase. Speeds teetered toward 80 mph on city streets, according to testimony. When the vehicle careened through the campus of St. Robert's Catholic School on Irvin Way, police called off the chase.
The two men in the back seat at some point in the chase bailed out of the car, detectives testified. The two cooperated with police and were not charged. Detective Jason Kirtlan testified one of them told police it was the scariest moment of his life "he was literally scared to death."
With the two in back yelling for Webb to pull over and let them out, McCulley turned around and told them both to shut up, according to Kirtlan.
"She said, 'Webb was a Class A driver,' " the detective said one of the passengers told him. "He would get them out of this and they would not stop for anything."
Detective Ryan Bullard testified McCulley told him in an interview that Webb once told her he shot a police officer in the face.
Court officials Wednesday could not confirm whether the statement was true. Bullard testified McCulley told him Webb was "boisterous in bragging about it."