Men accused of killing turtle, beating disabled veteran sentenced to probation

DeLAND, Fla. — Two men accused of killing a turtle and beating a disabled U.S. Navy veteran who intervened will serve probation and no jail time.

Police said Ryan Ponder, 23, and Johnnie Beveritt, 18, tortured a turtle at a Daytona Beach apartment complex in February.

Both appeared before a Volusia County judge Monday afternoon where each were sentenced to 18 months of probation.

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Investigators said Ponder, Beveritt and Alfred Chico, 16, beat Garry Blough Jr. when he tried to stop them.

“This is their second chance. Their only second chance,” said Bough.

Blough told Channel 9 in February that he saw the men picking up the animal and smashing it into the ground.

“You don’t hit a woman, you don’t hit a child and you don’t hit an animal around me,” he said. “I won’t stand for it. That’s not right.”

Blough said he suffered a swollen eye and a bump on the back of his head in the attack.

Ponder and Beveritt must pay Bough $16,500 a piece in restitution.

Blough said he doesn’t think he will see the money.

“Now we have to try to figure out how to get the rest of these medical bills paid,” he said.

He wears a patch over his right eye and said he has to spend a lot of time in doctors’ officers.

Blough said his eye injury is permanent.

“I have nerve damage. The lights still mess with my eye,” he said.

The trio was charged with battery and animal cruelty.