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WATERTOWN, NY – On the evening of April 19, 21-year-old Jessica Baughman allegedly escalated an argument with her grandmother by removing 12 of her grandmother’s pet goldfish from their tank and sautéing them until they died.  She also broke the elderly woman’s wooden wolf statue which was valued at all of twenty dollars.

Apparently, after the fish fry, there was an extended lull in the fighting because it wasn’t until about 12:30 a.m. when the police were called.  It seems that the argument had resumed and grandma, 63-year-old Vera Nichols, claims that Baughman had become enraged again, pushing her until she fell onto a bed.

Baughman was arrested on charges of felony cruelty to animals, fourth degree criminal mischief and second degree harassment. Baughman was detained at the Metro-Jefferson Public safety Building and her bond was set at $2000

I know I’d be pretty peeved if someone murdered one of my pets in a culinary fashion but I couldn’t help myself, I laughed trying to imagine how this transpired.  Maybe I’m a big old jerk, I don’t know.

In researching this story I noticed a lot of Internet indignation at the felony animal cruelty charge.  The majority of people seem to feel that frying these fish alive is much akin to dropping live lobster in boiling water.  I’m not sure that I agree with that as you have to factor in intent. Plus, you just can’t cook people’s pets, even if they’re just dumb fish.


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  • girlygerd

    Hahaha fish fry

  • CT

    There really need to be charges for being a dickhead.  Since there are not – go with the felony animal cruelty.  

  • LuvsHorror

    Should have made her eat them.

  • Shelby Burns

    If someone fried my betta I’d demand they be charged with first degree murder. 

  • OutOfBubbleGum

    For years, twelve fish laughed at the thirteenth.  Why was she swimming laps around the tank just to be the “SO CALLED” fastest fish?  Stuck in a 20 gallon tank, “When would she ever need to be faster than anyone of us?”  They all thought.

  • LeaveMeBe

    Granny should’ve taken that goldfish frying pan and smacked her in the face with it. That’ll learn her.

    Seems to me that grandmother’s these days are losing their touch. Back in my day grannies knew how to deal with the spawn of their offspring.

  • DangerousKindOfSnark

    A pet is pet, like Ms. Leigh said, even if it is a dumb fish. People get attached to stranger things and this was just cruel. If she’s capable of this, what if the animal had been a dog or cat, would she have tortured them to death just the same to get back at grandma? 
    Besides a fish has a slightly more complex brain than a lobster. You can’t compare a vertebrate life form with what is essentially a giant cockroach. The lobster’s “brain” is basically 15 mid-line ganglia. A fish actually has a brain with different regions a Fore, Mid, and Hind. So it is a bit different. Personally, I prefer to bisect the lobster’s head right before cooking to instantly kill it, but most believe it is essentially to stupid to know one way or the other. 

  • Zazen

    You know, I just thought of the scene from ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ with Kevin Kline and Michael Palin. …Only this is less funny, more white trash–I mean c’mon, a wolf statue?

  • Sam

    “after the fish fry, there was an extended lull in the fighting”
    What i want to know is what happened during that time span? Cause i’m imagining them both sitting down to an idiot’s version of sushi and the granddaughter getting riled up again when granny won’t finish her plate.

  • goldfish = feeder fish… pet or no pet

  • im thinking the girl went to her room to have a nice healthy crying session.. and by crying i mean smoking some meth or distilling some hand sanitizer hooch.

  • JohnQknowitall

    What the hell was the argument about? 


  • megaflytron


  • I can see all angles of this. And from living on the water my whole life nothing but cruel things are done to fish. Mainly because we eat them. But then there are also laws protecting them by making you throw them back when they are to small. And usually they “seem” to swim away just fine…But let’s analyze what we have then done to that fish by catching and then having to release him. The hook has either ripped his insides up ( if he has swallowed the hook) OR it is ripping his lip off….good luck growing a lip back and ever eating again my friend..And by maiming him you have not always preserved him  to grow longer, you have sent him swimming with the “other fishes”….who will pick his lame ass apart. Still this is a mean bitch who would torture her grandma and those fish just to be a lil’ mean bitch..

  • Sam

    You know what, thinking about the practicality of frying live fish – it’s actually kind of brilliant. No need to flip heavy pans, no awkward tongs – the fish do all the work for you! *eyes next door’s koi pond with renewed interest*

  • malq

    Jesus, they are goldfish.  I can’t wait until it is a crime to kill ants.

  • newstarshipsmell ™

    Poor sea kitties 🙁

  • cocanut77

    Time to throw in a joke:  I had a goldfish that would hump the carpet. Well, not really; I mean he only did it once.

  • sugarpie

    Time to boot this little she-beast to the curb Granny.

  • JGo555

    Dumbass! THey taste gummy & if you wanted to hurt her: grab a fucking 12″ koi from her pond that’s been in there for like 7 yrs. THAT’LL HURT HER!

    In all seriousness, we finally found Ollie, our clown fish driven to suicide by our 3 time widowed clown fish Rose. That bitch makes’em jump EVERY TIME. They prefer to suffocate out of the water than spawn with her.

  • JGo555

    I forgot!

    (that’s our Black Widow clown fish)

  • JGo555


    We love all of our fish (15 in total) and name them all.

    Rose, Richard, Lemon, Schneider, Sharkey, John (that’s our cleaner shrimp cause Peter his brother died of old age), Britney (the pompom crab), Colton (the Cook Island clam), Gilbert (our deceased betta…old age), Cheeseburger (deceased Arawana), Jake (the Black Moore) , Chubby (the fantail Goldfish)….

  • JGo555

    *Walks around her backyard pond with kois & reloads gun*

    Here Sammy, Sammy, Sammy Sam!

    Here Sammy!

  • Wolf_of_Mars

     The statue may have simply been a gift from a friend, or another family member.  We’ve ALL gotten horrid gifts at one time, or another.  Being “White Trash” may not have been the reason for the statuette being on display…

  • DangerousKindOfSnark

    Trust me I don’t know it all. I just have very particular interests. 

  • DangerousKindOfSnark

    I love your tank! I had a 55 gallon salt water reef that I had to give away when I moved. Who the blue cutie to the side, that’s not a blue tang is it?

  • I agree, is it coming to this? I guess all lobster places where you pick your own lobster out of the tank is going to be closed. Is cattle going to be next. I mean I grew up on a farm, and we had to bottle feed some calves. We gave them names-all the while we would get to eventually know them much better, as a good steak and hamburger. I worry that next time I go to a butcher, will it be closed because he was jailed?

  • JGo555

    No tangs… they grow too big. 110gal. I think it’s a blue throat trigger. That’s Richard btw. He’s a pig. And here’s a better pic of it.

  • JGo555

    Damn it! I had to reply to myself to post it but here it is. It looks better now since all the frg plugs have grown like 7 times what you see in it.

  • wyrosjr

    Fresher the fish, the better they taste? Or so says the lobster.

  • wyrosjr

    Many of the less ornate goldfish are designated “feeder goldfish”. Certain other fish really like to eat them.

    One of my friends in HS got in some trouble at another friends house when he ate that friends goldfish alive.

  • Lena60

    Jgo, you found Nemo.

  • Lena60

    Why are the grandma’s putting up with these evil fucking self absorbed grandchildren?

  • I did neglect to mention in the article that she does live with her grandmother.  Her bond was set so low, I highly doubt she’s still in.  I do wonder if grandma let her come home.

  • JGo555

    Yes, and that whore Rose drove him to suicide. The last one was picked on & he wasn’t even the size of nickle.

  • I’m sorry, but this is f**king ridiculous. I use to have a big pet Oscar. I bought 50 gold fish a week, they were his breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I guess in this state I would be facing thousands of counts of animal cruelty. What about opening day of trout season? Is this d*pshit of a DA going to be out there, arresting all of the fishermen?

  • onlyme356

    Well that is one cruel and spoiled little bitch. Emotionally and physically abused her grandma who is probably the only person who puts up with her ugly ass. That’s pretty mean spirited to say the least. And I don’t care how “dumb” fish are, I’m sure it doesn’t feel good to get fried alive.