GROSSE ILE (WWJ) – A pair of former Grosse Ile High School lacrosse players who pleaded guilty to torturing and killing a guinea pig prior to one of their games are due in court Wednesday to learn their punishments.
Tanner Coolsaet, 18, and Michael Roth, 17, could be sentenced to up to four years in prison on the felony charges; two counts of killing/torturing of animals and conspiracy to commit killing/torturing of animals.
According to Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy, the two teens showed up to a team meeting on April 30 with a guinea pig in a box. Testimony showed the teens bought the animal as part of a pre-game ritual for good luck. Coolsaet had a knife and slit the guinea pig’s throat, Worthy says. Roth then allegedly grabbed the animal and struck it with a small bat. The animal died a short time later.
A third member of the team also is charged in the case, as a juvenile. The prosecutor’s office has said the boy was 16 when he is alleged to have stabbed the animal with a knife. His case is set for next week.
During a preliminary examination, more disturbing details about the animal’s killing came to light. Witnesses testified that team members were divided on whether or not to kill the animal. The group split up, with those wanting to spare its life on one side of a table and those who wanted to kill it on the other. The teens then let the guinea pig choose its fate; if it walked over to the one side, its life would be spared. But the guinea pig ended up crawling to the “kill” side, sealing its fate.
Witnesses also testified that after the animal was dead, team members dipped their fingers in its blood and painted their faces with it. One player also allegedly dipped his tongue in the blood.
When everything was over, Coolsaet reportedly threw the animal’s body in the Detroit River.
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