At first it looked like an accident.
A 4-year-old Chihuahua named Dunky was lying in the street dead when its owner returned to the garage where he had parked during lunch on Feb. 10 in San Francisco, according to police. The man first assumed his dog had somehow sneaked out of the car and then had fallen from the seventh floor of the parking garage to its death.
But then the man went up to the seventh floor and saw his Mercedes: The vehicle had been broken into, leaving shattered glass and blood everywhere, police said. Someone had also rifled through the vehicle’s glove compartment.
From the car, a trail of blood led to a ledge — and that’s where the burglar had tossed Dunky off the structure and onto the street below, prosecutors said. Police said they instantly knew who the suspect was after watching surveillance footage.
The next morning, Wakeen Best, a 35-year-old homeless woman, was arrested in connection with the dog’s death, according to police.
A jury found Best guilty on felony animal cruelty, vandalism and burglary charges on Friday, according to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. The trial lasted three weeks, but jury deliberations only took a day.
“This defendant showed no remorse and is responsible for the death of a little, defenseless animal,” Gascón said in a statement, adding that the verdict is “a small step toward bringing justice for Dunky.”
Best targeted the man’s Mercedes because it was “the fanciest car she saw” on the seventh story of the garage that afternoon, according to prosecutors.
But after shattering the windows, Dunky surprised Best and began barking — drawing attention to the crime in progress. That’s when Best killed Dunky, and disposed of his body by dropping him over the ledge, prosecutors said.
Video and audio from the parking garage captured the crime as it happened, according to police. The perpetrator can be heard on the video screaming profanity at Dunky for yapping, though the video doesn’t show the attacker, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
“Shut yo ass up,” the culprit yells twice at the dog in the recording, according to the Chronicle.
Meanwhile, the car’s alarm is screeching in the background.
“You a b---h,” the culprit tells the dog in the recording, according to the Chronicle.
Best’s public defender said it wasn’t her client who killed the dog or who was heard in that recording, according to the Chronicle. But the public defender did admit that another recording caught Best at the crime scene.
“We know that she knows how to do a standard smash and grab,” Deputy Public Defender Alexandra Pray said, conceding that her client has stolen from cars before, according to the San Francisco Examiner. “She is just a regular ol’ auto burglar. She’s not someone who murders animals. She’s not someone who hurts animals.”
Prosecutors wouldn’t say if Dunky died in the car on the seventh floor or during the fall, the San Francisco Examiner reports.
But prosecutors do know one thing: “Dunky didn’t have to die,” Assistant District Attorney Asha Jameson said in a statement.
Best will be sentenced on August 17, according to prosecutors.