Legal Expert: Prosecutors Must Prove Admitted Dog Killer Acted Intentionally


JAMESTOWN – A Buffalo attorney said the Chautauqua County DA’s Office will be tasked with the challenge of proving Robert Overton intentionally killed his pit bull. 

“You can establish intent from the circumstances, or the facts of the case, or his statements that he may have made,” said Arthur Pressman.

On Wednesday, Overton admitted to WNYNewsNow that he hanged his pit bull after repeated acts of aggression against him and his children.



“The dog made a couple of attempts to be aggressive,” said Overton during our exclusive interview on Wednesday.

“The first time he bite me, which is fine because dogs do that, the second time he went after my daughter and he bite her on the butt, but never broke the skin,” Overton said.

He said the third time the dog, named Champagne, attacked him, leaving several marks.



Overton said he did not consider calling the humane society after the dog allegedly became aggressive.

Pressman said the mere fact that he acknowledged hanging the dog speaks to intent.

“Certainly someone who does that, you can show that their intent was to cause harm by the act of the hanging itself,” Pressman said. “The facts of the case speak for themselves.”

Overton said the reason he didn’t call City Dog Control or the Humane Society was because “it was him against the animal.”

“It wasn’t me against the family dog anymore; it was me against the animal and protecting my family,” said Overton.

In saying that, Pressman, whose career experience includes criminal defense, laid out a hypothetical scenario in which prosecutors would effectively prove that Overton acted intentionally.

“If you look at the facts and circumstances and say that this guy went to the trouble of getting a rope, climbing a tree, putting it (rope) around the dog’s neck or ankles and hanging it,” Pressman said. “There was an intent to do harm, and that’s how you can establish intent.

There’s no indication as to how or even if his on camera admission made to our reporters  will impact this case.

Jamestown Police Captain Robert Samuelson wouldn’t discuss details of the Overton investigation at a post-arraignment press conference, only saying that JPD’s case closed with the arrest.

*It’s important to note that Pressman is not Overton’s attorney nor is he in any way connected to this case. WNYNewsNow simply reached out to Mr. Pressman as a way to gain valuable insight on the challenges that local prosecutors may encounter in trying to convict Robert Overton of aggravated animal cruelty.  

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