Woman charged in peacock beating death testifies in her own defense

Sandra Maloney
Sandra Maloney

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Makaha woman charged in the beating death of a peacock took the witness stand in her own defense Thursday.

Sandra Maloney, 70, told jurors in her animal cruelty trial that when she moved to Makaha Valley Towers in 2004, she thought the peacocks that were roaming freely on the property were "quite lovely." But soon, any love for the squawking birds was gone.

"Did they bother you?" Earle Partington, defense attorney, asked.

"When it got to the point where we couldn't hear our television set with our lanai doors closed, you bet," Maloney replied.

She says the loud cries kept her up at night, and affected her physically and emotionally.

"I became withdrawn and cranky," she said. "I tried to cat nap. I couldn't even get a decent nap because they were going off during the day, too."

She says on May 17, 2009, she grabbed a baseball bat and went downstairs.

"I was just going to chase the peacocks because I needed to vent my exasperation," Maloney said.

But she says there was a peacock in the barbeque area of the apartment complex that refused to budge.

"This one sitting up on top of the barbeque, he didn't leave at all," she said. "He turned around and started to take a dump on the barbeque. I just lost it."

Maloney says she killed the bird by hitting it on the head with the bat, just like she was taught growing up on a farm in Washington.

"I thought, well, I got a hold of him, I might as well take him home for dinner," she testified.

Under Hawaii law, a person commits second-degree animal cruelty if he or she "kills without need any animal other than insects, vermin, or other pests."

The defense says the state doesn't require a permit to hunt peafowl in Makaha Valley, and that Maloney had plans for her kill.

"Did you plan on cooking the peacock when you got your bat and ran downstairs?" Andrew Park, deputy prosecutor, asked.

"No," Maloney replied.

"Worked up an appetite chasing the peacock?" Park asked.

"No," the defendant replied.

Earlier, Maloney's husband testified that he had done research on what could be done about the noisy birds in Makaha Valley and didn't find anything that said killing them was illegal.

James Maloney told jurors that the peacocks create "tremendous noise around the clock," and that his wife was "losing it."

Jason Misaki with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources testified that the department does not have jurisdiction over the peafowl at Makaha Valley Towers, which is private property.

Second-degree animal cruelty is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. The trial continues Friday.

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