Florida police say teenager accused of cat killings came close to a partial confession
Tyler Weinman, the teenager accused of committing a string of brutal crimes against cats in south Florida earlier this year, offered to tell police "about one or two cats" if they would drop other charges, according to court documents released this week.
The documents, which include a further transcript from an interview Weinman gave police shortly before he was arrested in June, appear to show the 18-year-old on the verge of a partial confession.
But the interview stopped before a possible confession could happen, the Miami Herald reports, when Weinman said he wanted a lawyer involved in the proceedings. David Macey, the attorney representing Weinman, disputes the accuracy of his client's statements as recorded in the documents. Calling them "either misleading [and/or] false," Macey cast aspersions on the investigation, which "with its unlimited resources" failed to include a tape recording of the interview.
Macey maintains Weinman is innocent of the charges against him, which include animal cruelty and improperly disposing of an animal body for each of 19 cat killings and an additional four counts of burglary related to the crimes.
Thus far in the investigation, only circumstantial evidence seems to connect Weinman to the killings. Investigators have said that they grew suspicious about the teenager after reading comments he made about the crimes on the Facebook and MySpace websites. (Weinman even apparently belonged to a "Catch the Cat Killer" group on Facebook, and he was reportedly known in his community as an animal lover.)
The crimes took place in two Florida towns, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay; his divorced parents, between whose homes Weinman split his time, each live in one of the towns. His mother's home in Cutler Bay is on the same street where four of the cat killer's victims went missing. The Miami Herald reports on other possible connections:
Miami-Dade police say Weinman was found around crime scenes in the middle of the night, had hands-on knowledge of cat dissection and sported scratches consistent with cat claws.
An electronic monitoring device on his car also placed him in the area during one cat killing, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Cutting tools and clothes were seized by police during searches of Weinman's parents' homes; investigators say DNA testing on the seized items may link Weinman more directly to the crimes, but results of such tests are not yet available.
Weinman has pleaded not guilty to the killings.
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: Thomas Shad with his new cat, Miss Prissy. Shad and his wife, Mary Lou, got Miss Prissy after their previous cat was killed during the spate of cat killings in south Florida earlier this year. Credit: J. Pat Carter / Associated Press