Man confesses to shooting neighbor’s dog

A Port Ludlow man who faced 13 firearms charges after shooting a neighbor’s dog changed his guilty plea to three of the charges Friday in Jefferson County Superior Court.

Ronald Scott Roth was arrested at his Thorndyke Road home in May after killing his neighbour’s dog with a 12 gauge shotgun.

Roth, 61, was initially charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm, first degree animal cruelty and making false statements to law enforcement.

In a plea agreement filed in court on Friday, Roth pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm and first-degree animal cruelty.

“Mr. Roth is prepared to take responsibility for his actions,” Assistant District Attorney Anna Phillips said.

A 41-month prison sentence was recommended in the plea deal, which Phillips said was a “severe sentence,” but she added it was commensurate with Roth’s actions that led to his arrest.

Under the agreement, the sentences for each of the charges will not be served simultaneously, but one after the other.

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Thorndyke Road just before 1.30pm on Sunday May 22 after a resident claimed neighbor Roth shot his dog.

After the dog was shot, the woman said Roth got into his truck and drove off.

Deputies found him at his home the next day.

Roth’s wife, Diann Guay Johnston, told deputies that Roth did not shoot the dog and did not own any firearms.

Deputies quickly learned that Roth was a convicted felon, his most recent conviction stemming from unlawful possession of a firearm. Armed with a search warrant, deputies found a dozen firearms at Roth’s home; 10 of them hidden in a sofa bed, and the other two in a bedroom. Ten of the 12 firearms were loaded and the firearms included a stolen .338 caliber Savage rifle, a Champion 12 gauge shotgun with a pistol grip, a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, a Russian rifle Mosin-Nagant 7.62x54R carbine with bayonet, .50 caliber Thompson muzzleloader, .22 caliber Western Auto rifle, Ruger 10 semi-automatic carbine/ 22, an unserialized JC Higgins 12-gauge shotgun, a .22-gauge cricket rifle, a .38-gauge Bryco handgun, a 12-gauge New England shotgun, and a .177 caliber air rifle.

Deputies found several boxes of full ammunition in the trunk of his wife’s car.

Johnston was charged in May with unlawful possession of a firearm.

Authorities said Johnston also accepted a plea deal, and the prosecutor’s office noted during Friday’s hearing that the resolution of the charges against Johnston and Roth resulted in a “comprehensive agreement.”

A change of plea hearing in Johnston’s case has been set for January 6.