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FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Accused ‘Chihuahua Choker’ appears in court

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Justice for Charlie. That’s what a family is seeking after their dog was strangled last week. Today, its accused killer appeared in court.

Video is all Jenna Branham and her family have left of Charlie the Chihuahua. The little dog was killed Friday. The man accused of strangling Charlie? Branham’s ex-boyfriend Cory Morgan Gray, 24.

“For someone to take a little 6 pound chihuahua out of his cage, literally strangle him and put him back in, deserves to be punished,” Jenna’s aunt Pam Postich said.

It’s a punishment that will be up to a court to decide. Gray appeared before a judge Monday. Charlie’s family sat just feet away.

“My mind was just racing, my heart was just racing, just, he didn’t look like he felt bad for anything,” Jenna’s sister Danielle Branham said. “He’s hiring his own attorney, which obviously means he’s going to plead not guilty.”

Gray received his court date and walked out without saying a word to Branham’s family.

“He never gave us a reason. He can’t tell us why he did it,” Danielle Branham said.

Branham’s family plans to be there during the trial to seek justice for Charlie and hoping for a change in the law.

“We can’t bring Charlie back but maybe we can help others,” Jenna’s dad Sid said. “Maybe we can get stricter penalties on animal cruelty. That’s the goal.”

While at the courthouse, Jenna Branham also took out a restraining order against Gray.

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