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      'Puppy-gutting' suspect recharged in case

      A Brownsville teen accused of gutting a puppy in front of its owners is back in custody after making a court appearance this morning.

      Mario Gasca appeared before a state district judge in Brownsville on Thursday morning.

      The 18-year-old man is accused in an animal cruelty but turned himself in for a tampering with physical evidence charge that had been recently filed against him.

      Gasca remains in custody but his defense attorney compared his client to recently jailed Brownsville Municipal Judge Philip Bellamy, who was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation.

      Action 4 News first reported the arrests of Gasca and co-defendant Jesus Javier Martinez back in December.

      A La Plaza Drive homeowner told officer that Gasca had killed her small black puppy.

      The woman reported she had filed burglary charges against Gasca shortly before the incident.

      Police told Action 4 News that 18-year-old Gasca was so upset that he went after the woman's puppy and kicked it 15 feet across the driveway.

      Gasca allegedly went up to the puppy while it was yelping in pain and kicked it again.

      Police told Action 4 News that the dog appeared to be lifeless when Gasca grabbed a pair of gardening shears, stabbed it and gutted it.

      The 18-year-old allegedly grabbed the puppy's body and threw it in a canal.

      Investigators told Action 4 News that Martinez egged Gasca on and was laughing while the puppy was being killed.

      A 17-year-old woman and a 12-year-old girl witnessed the killing.