A man in Florida has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after shooting and killing a police dog as he tried to escape arrest in 2018.

Jhamal Paskel, 19, received five years for the dog’s death and a 20-year sentence for other charges as he was sentenced last week at Duval County Circuit Court in Jacksonville, Florida.

According to News4Jax, Circuit Judge Gilbert Feltel Jr. had found the middle ground between the 35-year prison sentence sought by the state and the defense’s request for 15 years in prison along with rehabilitation.

During the two-hour hearing, Paskel noted he was 17 at the time of the incident and apologised, saying he was a ‘man ready to take responsibility for the mistakes [he] made as a child’.

Credit: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

He said: “I would like to offer my apologies and condolences to Officer Herrera for not only the killing of his K-9 partner Fang, but his best friend.

I want to apologise to the victims for scaring them that night. And I owe my mother the biggest apology for letting her down.”

Officer Matt Herrera, the dog’s minder, also spoke during the hearing, saying he released his K-9 called Fang to stop Paskel from escaping, only to hear him yelp after the first shot was fired.

Herrera recalled how he saw Fang lying lifeless with head and chest wounds, adding: “He’s still a member of my family and it wasn’t just sad for me or the department.

Credit: WJXT

It was my wife, kids and parents… to go back and see that empty kennel in the backyard and know that there is no dog there, and to see the bloodstains in the truck that I had to clean up after he was killed.

Paskel had pleaded guilty last December to shooting Fang, as well as possession of a gun by a juvenile delinquent, and aggravated fleeing, as well as the armed robbery and kidnapping of two women.

On 30 September 2018, he had carjacked two women at a gas station, making one of them drive as he held her at gunpoint.

Police were able to track the car through OnStar, the in-vehicle safety and security system it had installed, and had the system shut off the engine.

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