March 30, 2005 - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam
and Police Chief Sterling Owen today named Investigator Kathy Pappas
as the January Officer of the Month. Investigator Pappas has been
with the Knoxville Police Department since January 1994.
Owen said that on January 13, 2005, officers responded to a domestic
violence call in which the male suspect had allegedly killed his stepdaughter's
two-month old puppy. According to the suspect's wife and stepdaughter,
the puppy's killing was another act designed to hurt and intimidate
them. Investigator Pappas was assigned to the case.
Approximately five days after the puppy had been killed, Investigator
Pappas was at the victim's home conducting a follow-up interview
when the suspect, Timothy Sawyer, called several times. During those
phone conversations, Sawyer admitted he killed the puppy. The suspect
had crushed the puppy's neck by shutting the bathroom door on it.
He then poured liquid makeup down the puppy's throat until it suffocated.
Chief Owen said, "Due to Investigator Pappas' efforts, the
suspect was charged with Felony Animal Abuse, the first such case
pursued in Knox County."
As a result of the thorough investigation, Sawyer pleaded guilty
to aggravated cruelty to animals and coercion of a witness. Sawyer
received a two-year sentence.
Investigator Pappas will receive a signed certificate from the Mayor
and Chief along with a free dinner from Ruby Tuesday restaurant.