The 20-year-old Austin man accused of brutally murdering his 18-year-old boyfriend is also now facing animal cruelty charges for attempting to strangle the victim’s dog.
Last week, we told you about the murder of Stephen Roy Sylvester Jr. (above), who was allegedly beaten to death by his boyfriend, Bryan Michael Canchola (right). Canchola apparently went into a drunken rage after the pair returned to their apartment from gay bars on Fourth Street, accusing Sylvester of cheating on him.
In addition to viciously beating Sylvester, Canchola tried to strangle the victim’s Yorkshire Terrier, Harlow, who is now recovering and staying with Sylvester’s family.
Police said a roommate heard the couple in an argument after coming home from a night of drinking. During the argument, the roommate said he heard Sylvester’s nine-pound Yorkshire Terrier named Harlow yelp, as if in pain, and Sylvester yelled for the dog to be “let go,” according to the warrant.
The roommate took Sylvester to the hospital. As he was leaving, he told police he heard Canchola say, “when you’re gone, you better hope I don’t find you dog…I’m going to kill it,” according the warrant.
Police later found Harlow, and the dog appeared injured. “She had bloodshot eyes, petechial hemorrhaging and was having difficulty swallowing,” according to the warrant. Police said the injuries are consistent with strangulation.
On Sunday, mourners in Houston — where Sylvester lived prior to moving to Austin — held a candlelight vigil for him.
AbOUT Magazine reports:
One of the guys in the crowd was Taylor Shirley.
Every single piece of news coverage of this horrible loss; Shirley is mentioned as a “friend,” but that is almost as painful as the loss Shirley is feeling. Every reporter refers to me as a ‘friend’ he told us.
Shirley was the boyfriend for almost a year before Stephen moved. “He was larger than life. He walked into a room and filled it up in the best way.” says Shirley. “He was the type of person that if you were walking past him and he noticed you looking sad, he would stop you and ask to talk about it.” Shirley tells About Magazine.