An Alabama man who was accused of mass cat torture and killing has been pronounced not guilty of animal cruelty after he was found to be mentally ill.
After his arrest in October 2013, Ronald Fraser Golden had said that he killed the defenceless creatures because he was "angry at the world". He was set to face a trial on Monday, 5 February, morning for 22 felony counts of cruelty to a cat.
Golden's defence attorney entered a plea, saying that he was a mental disease patient who was in an asylum for 10 days immediately after his 2013 confession to police that he had killed several cats. The motion filed by the 52-year-old's attorney Lucas Beaty also asked the judge to not consider his client's statements in the trial.
He wrote in court records: "At the time of interrogation, the defendant was mentally incapable of understanding his Miranda rights and, therefore, was unable to knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently waive the same."
Limestone County prosecutors agreed to the motion as they found that a probate judge had also deemed Golden "mentally ill" and ruled that he was "in need of treatment and was unable to make rational and informed decisions", AL.com reported.
Investigation into the case began in September 2013 after police received a tip-off about dead kittens found in a home in Athens, Alabama. Golden, who was soon arrested, admitted to killing them.
Athens police Chief Floyd Johnson said that after his arrest more than four years ago, Golden also admitted to having a cat room, where "he would throw the kittens against the floor to break their necks, stomp on them or wring their necks".
When police raided the man's home, they found blood stains all over the walls and floors and five dead kittens in the garden. Two kittens, named Melvin and Mia, and two dogs were also found alive inside the Bullington Road area house, the Daily Mail reported.
At the time, a family also came forward and claimed that they may have sold two kittens to Golden after he contacted them after seeing an ad on Craigslist. The family added that Golden wanted to buy one more kitten named, Tigerlily, from them.
"He seemed real nice and talkative and he gave me some updates a couple of days later on how they were doing, what he'd named them," they said at the time.