Teenager charged with animal cruelty in Florida cat killings
The Florida teenager accused of mutilating and killing 19 cats in two South Florida towns, Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay, was charged Sunday with 19 counts each of animal cruelty and improperly disposing of an animal body. Tyler Weinman, 18, also faces burglary charges in relation to four of the cats' deaths.
Authorities have been searching for the responsible person or persons since shortly after the killings began in April. Miami-Dade Police Department Maj. Julie Miller told the Associated Press that more arrests may follow, but declined to name suspects or give any specific details.
A judge today ordered that Weinman be held on $249,500 bond and demanded a psychological evaluation to determine if he is a danger to himself or others. His attorney, David W. Macey, insists Weinman is innocent and said in an e-mail to the Associated Press that his client "welcomes his day in court, so that he will be completely vindicated."
Weinman was known in his community as an animal lover, according to United Press International. He even belonged to a Facebook group called "Catch the Cat Killer," and authorities intimated that his writings about the crimes on Facebook and MySpace caused them to become suspicious. (Since his arrest, more Facebook groups have sprouted up, the Miami Herald reports. One such group, called "Justice for Tyler," reminds members that Weinman is innocent until proven guilty. Another, apparently more popular group calls itself "Justice for Cat Mutilations.")
An additional detail emerged: Weinman's divorced mother and father, between whose homes he apparently split his time, live in Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay, respectively. Four of the confirmed cat killings were reported on his mother's street in Cutler Bay, the Associated Press reports.
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: Tyler Weinman in a June 14 mug shot released by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.