Crestview woman jailed for killing her neighbor's dog

Tom McLaughlin
Northwest Florida Daily News

CRESTVIEW — Diana Lynne Malone faces multiple charges, including theft and felony cruelty to animals following the discovery of her neighbor's dog dead inside her home.

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The victim told Crestview police that Malone is prone to "mental health episodes" and that she frequently assails her with racial epithets. She called officers Sunday after Malone left her apartment, rushed at her dog and snatched the animal "off the ground in a choking motion," a police report said.

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Reporting officers said when they arrived at the apartment complex at 200 Hospital Drive, the victim told them Malone had struck her in the face and pulled her hair when she tried to retrieve her dog and then carried it inside her home.

The woman "stated she (Malone) still had her dog in the apartment but could not hear it any more," the report said.

Diana Malone

When contacted, Malone told the officer her neighbor's "Bin Laden dog" was in the bathtub and stated multiple times "the only thing I got her on was animal cruelty," the officer's arrest report said.

The report said when asked to identify herself, Malone stated she was "Judge Judy, Judy Garland and the Wizard of Oz."

The officer placed Malone in handcuffs after finding the dog in the apartment's bath tub in a small bucket of bloody water. Police located a knife on a nearby end table with what appeared to be dog hair still on the blade, the report said.

The Panhandle Animal Welfare Society was summoned to the scene, and an investigation conducted after officers from that agency arrived determined the dog had suffered three puncture wounds to the abdomen that were consistent with something inflicted with the small knife that had been discovered.

A necropsy performed by PAWS, however, found that the dog had been drowned, and had actually suffered five superficial stab wounds. 

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Officers also discovered that Malone had attempted to conceal evidence by mopping the area around the tub where the dead dog had been found, the report said.

She faces felony cruelty to animal charges, along with a felony theft charge and a felony charge of tampering with evidence. Malone was also charged with misdemeanor battery.

It is not the first time Malone has been arrested by Crestview police after displaying outrageous behavior. Court records show that in December of 2005 she was taken into custody on an aggravated assault charge after she pointed a shotgun at her son's head and told him "to repent his sins because she was going to kill him."

The following April, Okaloosa County Circuit Court Judge Jere Tolton ruled Malone incompetent to proceed to trial. A psychological exam conducted in July again determined that she was incompetent.

In February of 2007, Circuit Judge Judge William Stone found that Malone was competent to face the charges against her. She pleaded no contest and was given 36 months probation, ordered to attend anger management courses and stay on her medication.

The probated sentence ended in 2010.

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The woman whose dog was killed told Crestview police Sunday that due to past incidents related to Malone's mental state, she had taken precautions to include recording herself when she stepped outside her apartment. 

A witness to Sunday's events told investigators that Malone "had it out for the victim" based on her being African American. She said there had been times she had heard her scream "all blacks should die."