Two Grosse Ile high school students accused of torturing and killing a Guinea pig before a lacrosse game last April received probation Wednesday after pleading guilty.
Tanner Coolsaet, 19, and Michael Roth, 18, will have no criminal record if they successfully complete probation of two years and three years, respectively.
Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner said he had allowed for extra time in the case to make sure the defendants didn’t have “deep-seated issues,” and he’s now sure they are “good students” with “bright futures,” he said.
“There was something in this case that kind of shocked the conscience,” he said.
Both defendants admitted it was a mistake, and both have plans to attend college this fall.
“I was raised better,” Roth said. “I also know better.”
Their lawyers said they were each donating $1,000 to the Michigan Humane Society. Witnesses have said the small animal purchased at a pet store was beaten and slashed on a beach in front of multiple fellow high school students.
A witness at the preliminary examination in August said Roth hit the animal with a small bat, and someone else stabbed it with a fixed-blade knife to kill it. Testimony indicated the guinea pig was purchased after students talked about killing it for good luck before the game.
The group of about 10 students had been divided about whether to kill it, so witnesses said they put it on a table to decide its own fate — walk to one side, it lives; walk to the other, it dies. After the animal was killed, it was thrown into the Detroit River.
A third, 16-year-old defendant was charged as a juvenile in a separately pending case.
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