Man killed cow for food, won't be charged, police say

Authorities said today that no charges will be filed against an Evans man who tied a cow to a tree and beat it to death with a hammer.

“As far as we’re concerned, the matter is closed,” Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said.

Joel Franco, 48, told police that he purchased the cow in Edgefield, S.C., for a cookout he was holding when his brother visited from out of town, according to a sheriff’s office incident report. Mr. Franco said he tied the cow to a tree and struck the animal two or three times on the top of its head with a 5-pound hammer. He said he started to skin and “quarter” the cow after he thought it was dead.

The incident, which occurred at Mr. Franco’s home on Aspen Laurel Drive in Evans, was reported to police about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday by an anonymous caller, according to the report.

The caller told police that two men took turns beating the animal multiple times on its head with a hammer until it fell to the ground. The caller said the men began to skin the cow while it still appeared to be alive.

Capt. Morris said that an individual’s intent is evaluated in all cases handled by the sheriff’s office.

“There’s no indication that the intent was to torture the animal,” he said. “The intent was to kill the cow, so that it could be processed for food.”

Reach Jenna Martin at 868-1222, ext. 109 or

jenna.martin@augustachronicle.com.

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