Alex Wullaert, 22,, has applied for accelerated rehabilitation,
Wullaert applied to undergo accelerated rehabilitation, a special probationary measure, in lieu of a criminal plea. In front of a judge at the New Haven Superior Court Tuesday morning, Wullaert agreed to apply for rehabilitation and return to court June 26. Protestors from Justice for Desmond, the anti-animal cruelty group who previously protested and , audibly sighed in the courtroom when Wullaert's lawyer Richard Silverstein requested rehabilitation. Silverstein refused to speak to the press.
Wullaert arrived at the courthouse at 9:30 a.m. with Silverstein and an unidentified man. Protestor Christina Blamire says Wullaert leaned in and made a kissing face at her pit bull, Hollywood, as he walked up the steps. "Don't kiss my dog," she yelled at him as he passed.
Protestors had been hoping for criminal actions against Wullaert.
"I think it's disgusting," said head organizer Micah Rapini. "I really hope they don't grant that to him. This is not the first violent act he's committed. Maybe all the other charges were dropped. But I wish they could take that into account, that he's [been accused of committing] violent crimes before."
To read more about the court case Tuesday, and about the protest, please see a story in the New Haven Register. News about the possibility of accelerated rehabilitation generated expressions of outrage on the Justice for Desmond Facebook page.
Members of the group also expressed anger at the fact that Wullaert was allowed to leave by an exit other than one of the main exits usually used by people appearing in court. The Justice for Desmond group said they had "friends" at all three exits waiting for Wullaert to leave.
The group, Justice For Desmond, has set up a Facebook page, has staged several protests, and is engaged in a fundraising campaign. The Facebook page has more than 3,500 "likes." They have also started a petition drive, which has more than 2,600 electronic signatures.
Branford police arrested Wullaert and charged him cruelty to animals and littering, following an investigation by Madison police. The affidavit in support of the arrests detailed the months of torture that led up to Desmond's death. Following his arrest on charges of cruelty to animals and littering, Wullaert was also . The domestic violence incident allegedly involved Wullaert's girlfriend, who also owned Desmond at one time.