ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A jury has found Albany man guilty of killing his cat, nearly decapitating its neck.
The case goes back to December when police say a neighbor found John Gehrlein’s deceased cat in his backyard.
The jury found Gehrlein guilty of aggravated animal cruelty.
In closing arguments, Gehrlein’s defense attorney told the jury the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Albany man could have killed his cat.
He pointed to the fact that a veterinarian who performed a necropsy could not find an exact cause of death, even though the cat’s neck had been slit.
He also tried to convince the jury that Gehrlein’s statement to police admitting he had killed his cat was not voluntary and made in a vulnerable moment of grief.
“No one saw the animal die. No one can say beyond a reasonable doubt who, or what or when this animal died,” Don Partyka, Gehrlein’s Public Defense Attorney, said.
Gehrlein listened quietly as the other side had their turn.
“He said these things because he did it. They found the cat. They asked him about it. He said, ‘Sir, I killed my cat.’,” Jennifer McCanney, the prosecutor, said.
The prosecutor asked the jury to look at the fact that exact cause of death could not have been determined, because internal parts of the animal’s neck had been cut out, and the vet who examined the body said it was not eaten away by any other animal.
She pointed to Gehrlein’s admissions to police as well as photos of the cat’s broken nails and the scratches on the defendant’s arm.
“That’s why ladies and gentlemen of the jury you should find this defendant guilty,” McCanney said.
Gehrlein faces up to two years in county jail if convicted. Gehrlein will be sentenced in August.