Puppy killer and 12-time felon gets six years in prison - Gilroy Dispatch: Crime Fire Courts

Puppy killer and 12-time felon gets six years in prison

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Related Stories

Related Documents

Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 4:48 pm

The 12-time felon and Gilroy man who killed his wife’s puppy by throwing it against a wall more than a year ago was sentenced Friday morning to six years in state prison, a much shorter sentence than the 25 years to life he was facing.

Bud Wally Ruiz, 53, spoke before Judge Edward Lee in the South County Courthouse, promising that if given another chance, he would change his behavior.

"I've been putting a lot of work into staying sober and studying myself," Ruiz said. "I'm very apologetic of what I did."

Ruiz killed his wife’s puppy, a Chihuahua named Teddy, in May 2011 by throwing it against a wall at her home during an argument in the 8800 block of Morey Way, according to the Gilroy Police Department. The puppy was a gift he had given her just several weeks before.

Ruiz has four prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon – two in Santa Clara County and two in Fresno County.

Based on his prior felonies, Ruiz faced 25 years to life because of the California Three-Strikes Law, which says that the minimum sentence for three-time repeat offenders with serious felony convictions is 25 years, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.

But Lee had compassion on Ruiz, citing a "decreasing cycle of violence" in Ruiz's life, and removed three of Ruiz's four prior felonies for assault with a deadly weapon and treated him as if he was only a two-time felon.

Dressed in brown prison garb with handcuffs and a chain around his waist, his long straight black hair put in a half ponytail, Ruiz's mood was calm but not somber. He smiled at times, and made a joke to the bailiff while waiting for his turn to be sentenced. The bailiff gave a hearty laugh.

Troy Benson, the deputy district attorney prosecuting the case, presented Ruiz as an "irredeemable" lifelong violent criminal.

"Is there any evidence that leads people to believe all this is going to stop?" Benson asked, rhetorically.

Thompson Sharkey, Ruiz's public defense attorney, said that killing his wife's puppy had an "element of accidental nature," and noted in terms of violence, it was a "lesser crime" than his past convictions. He also said that Ruiz has taken "steps to get better" in his battle against alcoholism, and presented a certificate from a recovery program completion to the judge to show that Ruiz is seeking help for his addictions.

"This man has excellent prospects for the future," Sharkey said.

Sabrina Ruiz, Ruiz's grown daughter, testified on behalf of her father. Her perky 3-year-old daughter played on the floor of the courtroom as she spoke.

"Our whole family suffers from addiction. I have been recovered for four-and-a-half years. My kids were taken from me, but I have received them back," Sabrina said, pausing to compose herself.

"My dad is a very loving person, and under the right circumstances I believe he can do well," she said.

Sabrina took off her glasses to wipe tears from her eyes.

"He called me, and promised me that if he got a second chance, he would change," she said.

Lee noted in his decision that the "love of a family member, and there are probably several, is not easily earned and is easily lost," and used Sabrina's testimony as a mitigating factor for Ruiz.

In deciding whether or not Ruiz fit the scope of the current Three-Strikes Law, he told the court that "these are some of the most difficult decisions I have to make."

"Most of us go through life without ever having a felony, but you have managed to amass 12," Lee said. Ruiz also has 25 misdemeanors and is a registered sex offender, according to the Megan's Law registry.

Testifying against Ruiz was Leroy Moyer, director of Voices for Pets, a Bay Area animal rights organization.

“Bud Ruiz is exactly the type of person that voters were thinking of when they made the Three-Strikes Law," Moyer said.

Passed in 1994 by California voters, the Three-Strikes Law is up for reform this year by way of Proposition 36, which seeks to scale back the law to apply only to “serious” convicts, such as murderers, rapists and child molesters, according to the proposition's website.

Supporters of Proposition 36 claim that reserving the Three-Stikes Law for more serious felons will eliminate unnecessary life sentences and save California $100 million a year.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen is one of the proposition's endorsers.

"Prop 36 ensures consistency and justice under the Three-Strikes Law. It reflects the best practice for Three Strikes cases in California; maintains public safety; and will save taxpayers millions of dollars," he said in a written statement.

Ruiz has served 502 days in custody since the incident, which amount to 1,004 days, or 2.75 years toward his six-year sentence.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Anti-ghost posted at 5:39 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    Anti-ghost Posts: 16

    I'm wondering why we can comment on this story about a dangerous puppy killer and the liberal newspaper known as the gilroy dispatch shuts down our freedom of speech on the worst crime in the paper ( child negligence) all though its a very sad situation and I couldn't imagine losing one of my girls any other normal person ( non cop) would be in the slammer . Sad to say but it's the truth

  • Tmp posted at 11:52 am on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    Tmp Posts: 3


  • Shelby posted at 12:47 pm on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    Shelby Posts: 2

    A second chance really??? would a second chance constitute 10 felonies prior? A 2nd chance means a chance after 1 mess up not after 12 times plus a couple of dozen more infractions. I'm willing to change wow such a good person yeah right sure

  • OldTimeGilroy posted at 2:58 pm on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    OldTimeGilroy Posts: 169

    @ LiberalsRstupid: There's a thing called "Prozac." See your doctor.

  • Ms_Spelling posted at 8:31 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    Ms_Spelling Posts: 136

    I don't understand this: "Ruiz has served 502 days in custody since the incident, which amount to 1,004 days, or 2.75 years toward his six-year sentence." Why did they double his time in custody of 502 days and count it as 1,004 days served?

    Dispatch Editor: the PDF link in this article is not for Ruiz. It's a warrant for Patrick Shane Darrigo dated 8/31/2011.

  • LiberalsRstupid posted at 8:27 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    LiberalsRstupid Posts: 294

    Oh yea, FU Dispatch you suck....

  • LiberalsRstupid posted at 8:25 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    LiberalsRstupid Posts: 294

    Only in the Govt does 502 days in custody equal 1004 days or 2.75 years... FN IDIOTS running our Govt...

  • LiberalsRstupid posted at 8:23 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    LiberalsRstupid Posts: 294

    Oh yeah, he wont be in Jail for Six years.... Another Judge in Cali will force the Prisons to release him because of "over crowding"... Our Govt is the ENEMY and is not looking out for the Citizenry.

  • LiberalsRstupid posted at 8:21 am on Sat, Sep 29, 2012.

    LiberalsRstupid Posts: 294

    This POS should get a BULLET in his brain... Thats the answer... After this POS gets out in 6 years can we send him over to the Judges house for a visit? If this incompetent moron Judge is willing to put this ANIMAL back on the street to kill again then the Judge should pay the consequences. NOT SOCIETY..

  • Ms_Spelling posted at 7:51 pm on Fri, Sep 28, 2012.

    Ms_Spelling Posts: 136

    Judge Edward Lee: wth is wrong with you? What were you thinking? WERE you thinking? 12 felonies, 25 misdemeanors, a registered sex offender and you only gave him 6 years, citing "a decreasing cycle of violence?"
    You need to be recalled. Voters, remember this.
    Troy Benson had it right. This piece of human garbage should have gone away for 25 years to life.