PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - Richard Owen describes himself as a real estate investor who owns numerous Pensacola properties and businesses. He said he has been making a name for himself on the gulf coast since 1979.
But chances are, real estate isn't how you know him.
Escambia County deputies charged Owen with killing two horses.
"I would never do anything to harm those horses," Owen said. "I'm just basically heartbroken over it, I've been sick about it, and it's really humbling and it's a sad experience for me."
Owen says this all started in February.
According to an arrest report from the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, Owen was the victim of a savage beating at his Baronne Street Property.
Owen said he thinks one of his alleged attackers, who faces felony battery charges, returned Tuesday, and killed the horses.
"They're intimidating me," Owen said. "That was the morning I was supposed to testify against his co-defendant."
Instead, after a plea bargain, Owen said he wasn't needed to testify.
And during the time the horses were killed, Owen said he was with his girlfriend.
"What more can I say? I was due to testify in court that morning, and my horses got killed," Owen said. "They're saying I did it. They took a gun from me that had practice rounds in it and they're saying that gun killed the horses. So, you tell me."
Owen said those rounds, made of copper and plastic, are meant for target practice only.
"They make a lot of noise but they don't really inflict any damage," Owen said. "I shot two of them about three months ago, and they would not go through a can."
Owen said he armed himself with the gun in case his attackers returned. He said he wouldn't try to hurt anyone, just scare them with the practice rounds.
"When those ballistic tests come back, I'm positive that I'll be exonerated from this. And I hope all those deputies, I hope they're all man enough and woman enough to come and apologize to me but I bet I won't get a single one to," Owen said.
But Owen said that's not the main reason for his fight. In fact, far from it.
Owen wants to prove his innocence in court, and clear his name in the public eye.
"I just hope that everybody will see I'm a different person when the tests and all come back," Owen said.
Owen will appear in court next month. If convicted, the State Attorney's Office said he could spend up to ten years behind bars.
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