Grosse Ile teens charged in guinea pig slaughter

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Two Grosse Ile High School lacrosse players were arraigned Monday on charges of torturing and killing an animal in an alleged pre-game slaughter of a guinea pig in April, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

Tanner Coolsaet, 18, and Michael Roth, 17, each face two counts of killing/torturing an animal and conspiracy to kill/torture an animal. All charges are felonies carrying up to four years in prison, spokeswoman Maria Miller said.

The players initially were reported by the prosecutor’s office to be facing animal cruelty charges.

They were released Monday on $5,000 personal bonds, according to court records. They are due back in court July 26 for a probable cause hearing and again Aug. 2 for their preliminary examinations.

The defendants are barred from consuming alcohol or drugs and cannot own or purchase an animal or pet, according to the records. They also must abide by a 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, Miller said after their arraignments.

The charges stem from a pre-game meeting around 11:30 a.m. April 30 involving a group of varsity boys lacrosse players.

“Two team members, Coolsaet and Roth, arrived at the meeting location and produced a box containing a guinea pig,” Miller said in a statement. “Coolsaet had a knife and slit the guinea pig’s throat. Roth grabbed the guinea pig and struck it with a small bat. The animal died shortly thereafter.”

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy condemned the attack.

“The alleged facts in this case illustrate much more than a youthful prank or a pre-game antic,” she said. “We must take these cases seriously.”

News of the alleged grisly animal sacrifice broke in early May, with reports of the ritual performed by unnamed lacrosse players. At the time, police said investigators were trying to determine who was involved in the alleged cruelty.

“There’s 18 (students) on the team and we do know so far that not all of them were involved,” Police Chief Joseph Porcarelli said at the time. “But more than half were at the location when it occurred.”

The varsity team is comprised of students in grades 9-12. It is the school’s only lacrosse team.

The school district in May said it was informed of the allegations and canceled lacrosse season competitions pending the outcome of the probe.