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Man Who Shot Covington Police Dog, Stabbed Mother Pleads Guilty

The man who shot a Covington Police K9 after stabbing his mother pleaded guilty on Monday.

Daleon T. Rice, 35, was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, attempted assault on a service animal, first degree assault, and persistent felony offender. 

In April, 2015, Rice fired upon Officer Michael Lusardi and his K9 partner, Ernie, when the officers attempted to serve a warrant related to the stabbing of Rice's mother. Lusardi was not hit, but Ernie suffered wounds. Lusardi returned fire and struck Rice in the foot but the suspect was able to flee the scene.

He was later captured that same day.

Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders will recommend a sentence of 40 years in prison when Rice appears before Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia Summe on March 26.

Daleon Rice (via Kenton Co. Detention Center)

"Amazingly, under current Kentucky law, attempted murder, even of a police officer, is a non-violent offense, when the victim is not seriously injured," Sanders said in a statement. "Also amazing is shooting a police K9 is only a misdemeanor unless the dog is killed or unable to return to service. Because Ernie recovered from his wounds and is back on duty, the assault on a service animal charge isn't even a felony offense."

Sanders noted that he is working with State Senator Wil Schroeder (R-Wilder) to file bills in the General Assembly for this year's legislative session that would address these concerns.

Covington Police Specialist Jay Zerhusen was also injured in the apprehension of Rice, and he was later honored for his efforts in the line of duty.

-Staff report

Photo: K9 Ernie

Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Ernie and Lusardi are presented to Covington City Commission by then-Chief Spike Jones