BUFFALO, NY - Adell Ziegler is prepared to stand trial for animal cruelty later this month.
The 19-year-old is accused of using lighter fluid to set a Jack Russell Terrier puppy on fire last fall. The puppy, now known as Phoenix, was seen running in a field on Herman Street in Buffalo by a neighbor.
Prosecutors handed over audio cassettes that are said to contain jailhouse phone conversations between Ziegler and the man who owned Phoenix at the time of the crime.
Diondre Brown, 17, has already pleaded guilty felony animal cruelty for his role as a "lookout" when the Ziegler allegedly set the puppy on fire. Prosecutors say Brown will testify.
Ziegler's attorney E. Earl Key wouldn't rule out a plea, but says his client is ready for trial before Judge Russell Buscaglia on April 25.
Phoenix is now 14-pounds and growing as a normal puppy, according to Judy Bunge, veterinary tech caring for the animal. He could be put up for adoption in a couple of weeks.