Trial set for central Illinois man accused of animal cruelty

PEKIN - Authorities say a jury trial for a central Illinois man who's accused of injuring one puppy and stomping another one to death is scheduled to begin on December 2, 2014.

Stephen Coker, 48, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated cruelty to a companion animal.  Authorities say Coker had recently been released from prison, where he was serving a 10-year prison term for aggravated domestic battery and residential arson.

Authorities also say after Coker's release from prison, he was invited to live with old family friends in Delavan, Illinois.  Prosecutors say Coker injured the puppies during a violent outburst at the home.

Coker has remained in custody since his arrest on animal cruelty charges.  Authorities say he could receive a three-year prison sentence if he's convicted.
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