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March 1, 2013

Jury to deliberate animal cruelty case

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — ALBION — The fate of a man accused of kicking a kitten to death at a Carlton apartment complex last May will be placed in the hands of a jury Friday.

Judge James Punch said Thursday that a 12-person jury will be asked to deliberate on aggravated cruelty to animals and endangering the welfare of a child charges against Richard Keihl.

The jury heard Thursday from conflicting witnesses to Keihl’s whereabouts on the Memorial Day weekend of 2012 as well as testimony on an autopsy performed on the animal.

Keihl, 31, Yates, was arrested in June after allegedly causing the injuries that led to the three-month-old tabby cat’s eventual death.

Dr. Sean P. McDonough of Cornell University, the veterinary pathologist who performed an autopsy of the cat, testified Thursday that its body had a “pattern of bruises from at least two bouts of trauma.”

According to the testimony of Jordan Gulczewski, who lived at the Heritage Meadows Apartments, Keihl injured the cat on the afternoon of May 26 while he was at the apartment he shared with his girlfriend and her children.

“He picked up a little kitten from the garden and brought it to the sidewalk ... and punted it,” said Gulczewski, who testified that she observed the incident. “He picked it up (again) and kicked it into a dumpster.”

Gulczewski, 12, said Keihl then walked over to her, saying “you little brat, you’ve seen nothing.”

That recollection conflicted with those made by Jodi Hughson, Keihl’s girlfriend. Hughson said that Keihl was away from the apartment complex during the day on both May 26 and May 27, spending both afternoon’s at his mother’s Yates-Carlton Townline Road home. 

Charlene Keihl agreed with Hughson’s timeline of her son’s whereabouts.

“How is he supposed to have done this if he was at my house all weekend,” Keihl testified.

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