Beacon Journal staff report
An appeals court has overturned the conviction of an Akron man accused of holding a lost dog for ransom.
Pierre Cabell, 20, and another man were arrested last year as part of a scheme demanding $500 from the dog’s owners to return Papa Bear, a pit bull.
They phoned the owners after seeing a lost-dog flier. The other man threatened to harm the dog if the owners didn’t pay.
An Akron Municipal Court jury convicted Cabell of coercion, fined him and sentenced him to six months of probation.
He appealed, arguing that there was insufficient evidence that he was the primary offender and the court didn’t give the jury instructions about the crime of complicity.
The 9th District Court of Appeals agreed in a ruling last week.
“Having reviewed the record, we must conclude that the state failed to prove that Cabell committed the crime of coercion,” Judge Beth Whitmore wrote.
Cabell and the other man, Gilbert Dickson, 57,of Akron, were charged after a police sting. Cabell arrived at the sting to retrieve the money.
Dickson was convicted of obstructing official business, disorderly conduct and coercion.