A Henrico County man accused of performing sex acts on Rottweilers was convicted of two counts of animal cruelty Tuesday.
Stephen Matthew Taylor, 31, entered an Alford plea to a felony charge of inflicting pain and causing death of an animal. He entered a guilty plea to an additional misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty.
Under an Alford plea, a defendant doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction.
The defendant, who had eight Rottweilers, admitted to police that he performed oral sex on one of the dogs, according to Nael A. Abouzaki, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Henrico.
Abouzaki said a hard drive found at Taylor’s home contained 171 images of bestiality, including 10 images of Taylor performing oral sex on a Rottweiler. William T. Linka, Taylor’s attorney, said his client disputes the fact that he is the person in the images.
Abouzaki said the defendant’s conduct was “appalling.”
After his court appearance, Taylor called the allegations against him lies, saying he is not guilty. Taylor said he entered his pleas because he didn’t feel that he could get a fair trial in Henrico.
A search warrant was executed in November at Taylor’s Lakeside home in the 2900 block of Kenwood Avenue for child pornography and crimes against nature, according to a criminal complaint.
Taylor’s roommate, Craig Michael Knox, was arrested in November after the search of the home. Knox was then arraigned in Pennsylvania on various sex charges, including an allegation that he raped a 9-year-old boy, according to the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office. The charges against Knox stemmed from alleged assaults that happened in 2010 in Pittston, Pa., where Knox was living at the time.
The eight dogs at the Kenwood Avenue home were seized, according to the criminal complaint. Abouzaki said two of the dogs had to be euthanized.
Henrico Circuit Judge James Stephen Yoffy was stunned by the graphic nature of the case.
“I just don’t have any words,” Yoffy said. “This is disgusting.”
Taylor will be sentenced Nov. 14. The maximum punishment for the felony is five years in prison, while the maximum sentence for the misdemeanor is one year in prison.
Yoffy ordered that Taylor, who is out on bond, undergo a psychosexual evaluation.
One condition of Taylor’s bond is that he is not to have contact with companion animals, Abouzaki said.