Trial begins for alleged killer of dog

The Associated Press
Tuesday June 05, 2001

SAN JOSE — Trial begins this week for a former telephone repairman accused of an infamous act of road rage – throwing a woman’s little white dog into traffic after a minor accident. 

Andrew Burnett, 27, could face up to three years in prison if convicted of killing Leo, the bichon frise. Burnett pleaded innocent last month. 

The dog’s owner, Sara McBurnett, received supportive messages from animal lovers around the country after Leo was killed near the San Jose airport on Feb. 11, 2000. 

McBurnett said her car tapped the bumper of a black sport-utility vehicle that had just cut her off. When the driver approached her car, she rolled down her window to apologize. Enraged, the man reached in and snatched Leo, threw him into oncoming traffic and fled, McBurnett said. 

Initial hearings in the trial are scheduled for Monday, and prosecutor Troy Benson said he expects jury selection to begin Tuesday. 

Burnett was arrested in December on charges he stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment from his former employer, Pacific Bell, and lied to get out of a speeding ticket.