Categories: crime

Animal Legal Defense Fund To Probe Austin County DA Handling of Cat Shooting

On June 26, the Animal Legal Defense Fund issued a press release explaining their intent to review the Austin County District Attorney Office’s handling of the criminal case against Kristen Lindsey.

Austin County District Attorney Travis J. Koehn has been asked to produce all records under the Texas Public Information Act (Tex. Gov. Code § 552.001 et seq.) after the Texas Grand Jury determined there was “insufficient proof” to charge Kristen Lindsey with animal cruelty.

Since there wasn’t enough evidence provided to charge Lindsey, the case is now considered closed. Now Scott Heiser, former prosecutor and current director of ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program has expressed the desire to examine the case stating:

“The Animal Legal Defense Fund is pleased to see the Austin County District Attorney taking animal cruelty seriously and we are grateful to the members of the Grand Jury for their work as well,” said Scott Heiser, a former prosecutor and current director of ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program.

“Unfortunately, it is possible that the investigation was incomplete and that the prosecution misconstrued Tex. Pen. Code § 42.092(b)(2). We simply want to have a detailed look at the file in an effort to ensure that justice is served.”

Under the Texas Public Information Act, the prosecutor can refuse to share what is essentially a closed file when a suspect is not convicted. The Animal Legal Defense Fund hopes Austin County District Attorney Koehn won’t exercise his right to do so, and will allow the file to be examined.

The two issues the ALDF hopes to examine are whether the prosecution acted correctly into the legal analysis of the application of the Pen. Code listed above, and whether steps were made during the investigation to try to establish jurisdiction as to where the cat alleged to be Tiger was killed. There are apparently a few witnesses who stated Tiger wasn’t the cat killed, but that shouldn’t determine whether charges should have been filed, as any cat should have been protected under Texas law.

Tiger advocates everywhere are pleased to see the Animal Legal Defense Fund probe into the case, with many feeling the District Attorney’s office did too little to convince the Grand Jury to pursue the case, knowing full well the fault would fall on the Grand Jury, rather than with the District Attorney.

Good luck, ALDF, and may your investigation prove too little was done to bring justice to a little cat named Tiger. Since the case is officially closed, it’s alleged that Lindsey and her attorney are working hard to have as many Facebook pages and groups that gave her a bad name are removed, since she was never charged with a crime.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts on the pitiful manner in which this case has been handled.


Documents and screenshots from throughout this case can be found seen below:

In her blog from 2011, Kristen Lindsey stated she enjoyed killing and trying to kill things (animals):

Below is the photo that started it all on Facebook:

Below is her license to practice veterinary medicine in Texas:

Below is a screenshot of her mother’s saying that she and Jack watched:

For a short time on Saturday, April 18, Kristen at her Facebook page backup and addressed the death threats saying “I’m just ignoring all the death threats. Insulting me doesn’t make you any better:

Below is a screenshot where Kristen says she’s too awesome to be terminated:

Below is a reply from Facebook for a photo on Carnivores4Kristen page. Facebook doesn’t consider an arrow through a cat’s head as against their policy:

Below is a Lindsey press release issued by Austin County district attorney on April 29, 2015:

Letter from her lawyer:

Source: ALDF

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

View Comments

  • Thank God it wasn't my cat or there would have been way more publication--what kind of veterinarian takes pride in killing any animal?? Poor Tiger and his parents! Please continue with a civil case as animal cruelty is still out of control...

  • QUESTION: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SUBPOENA AND A SEARCH WARRANT?

    ANSWER: AN INDICTMENT

    At least that seems to be the case when DA Travis Koehn conducts an investigation. In what may have been the fastest grand jury hearing in history, the Kristen Lindsey case was settled in a few short hours.

    The jury convened in the morning, and by early afternoon it was a done deal. It’s hard to believe that experts testified, law enforcement testified, the DA argued his case, the jurors deliberated, results were presented to the DA, findings were analyzed, and a press release was written and published- all in the space of 5 hours or so.

    Wow, things sure move fast in Koehn’s neck of the woods! So fast that maybe - just maybe- the investigation wasn’t as thorough as the DA claimed it was. Maybe he didn’t bother to get the evidence he needed to convince the grand jury to indict.

    Here is one of many troublesome aspects to the Lindsey investigation: Travis Koehn stated in his press release that “Subpoenas to Facebook failed to produce useable evidence, as the account was deleted the same day law enforcement became aware of the matter.”

    On the surface that sounds almost reasonable. The man issued a subpoena, and Facebook complied. The subpoena didn’t turn up much. What’s a fella to do? He tried, right?

    Oh wait, not so fast… first let’s take a look at what a SUBPOENA to Facebook will actually produce in terms of evidence. This is what you get: “name, length of service, credit card information, email address(es) and a recent login/logout IP address(es), if available.” Oh boy, all that for the price of one subpoena! Travis Koehn must have been thrilled to find out which credit cards Kristen Lindsey uses.

    Golly gee whiz, if only he had obtained an actual SEARCH WARRANT as required by law to get account information that might actually have incriminated Lindsey...

    Here’s what a SEARCH WARRANT will get you: messages, videos, wall posts, photos and location information.
    Oh, and Facebook typically stores info for 90 days. Anyone taking bets that Mr. K got right on this? In addition, Mr. K could have applied for Facebook “Account Preservation” to make sure KL’s FB data didn’t vanish. Maybe he was just too busy thinking of ways to get Lindsey off. I mean, the bow and arrow = humane euthanasia theory of his—now that’s a reach! And, let’s not forget the “Well, darn, we don’t even know if this happened in Texas” dodge. A three minute interview with KL’s parents, who witnessed and photographed this joyous family bonding moment, would’ve cleared that right up.

    Here’s the real kicker though: it appears that KL never deleted her account, but only deactivated it, meaning some of the old stuff she posted might still be there. How do we know this, you ask? Last week, KL briefly displayed a FB account under the name Kristen Erin, which showed friends and a timeline going back as far as 2009. Pretty cool trick to backdate a brand new Kristen Erin account— we’d love to know how she did this.

    Now, are we positive that Mr. Koehn didn’t obtain a search warrant for KL’s Facebook records? Not really, but keep in mind the DA only mentioned a subpoena in his press release. Quite a boo-boo for a lawyer if he meant to write “Search Warrant”… or maybe he thinks it’s none of our business, as he seems to think justice is none of our business.

    For those who are interested in learning more about Facebook’s compliance with the law, here’s the fine print:
    This is Facebook's policy about law enforcement requests for data:

    "US Legal Process Requirements

    We disclose account records solely in accordance with our terms of service and applicable law, including the federal Stored Communications Act (“SCA”), 18 U.S.C. Sections 2701-2712. Under US law:
    A valid subpoena issued in connection with an official criminal investigation is required to compel the disclosure of basic subscriber records (defined in 18 U.S.C. Section 2703(c)(2)), which may include: name, length of service, credit card information, email address(es), and a recent login/logout IP address(es), if available.
    A court order issued under 18 U.S.C. Section 2703(d) is required to compel the disclosure of certain records or other information pertaining to the account, not including contents of communications, which may include message headers and IP addresses, in addition to the basic subscriber records identified above.
    A search warrant issued under the procedures described in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or equivalent state warrant procedures upon a showing of probable cause is required to compel the disclosure of the stored contents of any account, which may include messages, photos, videos, wall posts, and location information.

    We interpret the national security letter provision as applied to Facebook to require the production of only 2 categories of information: name and length of service.

    International Legal Process Requirements
    We disclose account records solely in accordance with our terms of service and applicable law. A Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request or letter rogatory may be required to compel the disclosure of the contents of an account. Further information can be found here:facebook.com/about/privacy/other.

    Account Preservation
    We will take steps to preserve account records in connection with official criminal investigations for 90 days pending our receipt of formal legal process. You may expeditiously submit formal preservation requests through the Law Enforcement Online Request System atfacebook.com/records, or by email, or mail as indicated below.

    Emergency Requests

    In responding to a matter involving imminent harm to a child or risk of death or serious physical injury to any person and requiring disclosure of information without delay, a law enforcement official may submit a request through the Law Enforcement Online Request System atfacebook.com/records. Important note: We will not review or respond to messages sent to this email address by non-law enforcement officials. Users aware of an emergency situation should immediately and directly contact local law enforcement officials.

    We also may retain information from accounts disabled for violations of our terms for at least a year to prevent repeat abuse or other violations of our terms.”

    • An amazing comment. First class and very informative. Thanks a lot Jean. I am going to turn this into an article within the hour. I hope you are okay with that. Of course you will be credited as the author. Many thanks. I also knew the the police and prosecuting service did a very poor job (deliberately I'd say) and you post adds real detail to that.

  • Thank you for this article that has everything organized. I certainly hope that this cat killer gets prosecuted at last, through ALDF, so that the cats in Texas become safer.
    I am really hoping that the Texas Vet Board takes away her license, since that could hit her the hardest. Even if charged, she might just get probation for a first offense, after all.
    This woman should not be allowed near animals again!

  • Yes Amy was the caregiver .She has had support as well as critics..Shes a good woman who rescues and volunteers with Animalsand pet sits .Im interested to know if something can be done as well with Animal league defense fund getting involved .I followed case since April 20 maybe ???
    Ive also been told its legal to kill ferals in Wyoming is there any way we can rally together to change that ??thanks

  • Michael_
    Thank goodness for Judge Koehn and for the ALDF. This is at the very least a step in the right direction.

    If we do not feel the need to protect animals-does this mean we will not feel the need to protect humans as well?
    Eva

  • This is the least of all the issues, but I find it ironic---anyone notice that her lawyer misspelled feral?

    This story has haunted me since it broke in April. I am sickened any time I see her smug, arrogant face. If someone hurt one of my cats, I'd get arrested myself because I'd want revenge. My husband just said maybe karma will get her perfectly and she'll be mauled to death by a bobcat.

    • If someone hurt my cat I'd get arrested too. I'd kill the bastard! The fact that the lawyer misspelled 'feral' is probably because lawyers dictate to secretaries. The secretary misspelled it or it is a typo and the lawyer failed to spot it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • I was on a grand Jury many years ago in New York. Most of our decisions were made upon the suggestions of the D.A. We only started making our own conclusions when we were nearing the end of our session.

    • Elena, thanks for that insight. It helps understand what is going on in this case.

  • Sickening to know all her friends were so happy she killed the poor cat. Bunch of losers.Why kind of degenerates are they? Her family has the town in their pocket. Cruelty is a crime regardless of who or why it was done.And now she is threatening people because they are telling the truth about her? There was no justice here.

  • This woman and her behavior make me sick to my stomach with rage. I can't bear the thought of how the older couple who were Tiger's humans must feel. If there is no way to get this woman and her mother (who cheered her on and took the picture) aren't slapped with animal cruelty (jail's too good for them, IMHO), I hope a civil suit will be filed ... could it be a class action suit charging mental cruelty? Because what she did -- kill, brag, and post photos and comments -- and who she was (a veterinarian??? Hardly!) has certainly had some painful mental and emotional results. I'm so glad ALDF is getting involved. This may well get me to start donating to them again!

    • If Tiger has an owner, he/she could start a civil claim. That would certainly help but the owner if, she exists, has been completely silent. I don't think Tiger has an owner on this basis. Thanks Sherri.

      • I wonder if Amy Helmsell (Tiger's caretaker) could file the civil suit as his owner. It is my understanding the elderly couple no longer live in the area. Isn't possession 99% of ownership? She fed the cat, took care of him, and has video of him and her together.

        • Tiger's owner could definitely file a civil suit for the tort of conversion for instance. What is surprising is that we have not heard a thing from Tiger's owner. It is the first time I have heard of the woman being identified as Amy Helmsell. Thanks for that. Are you sure she is the caretaker? Do you have information about her?

          Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts.

      • If you look at the Facebook page "Justice for ' Tiger ' the cat murdered by Kristen Lindsey," it appears Tiger was owned by an older couple who live on the same block as that wretched killer-with-a-grin, and that they have a spokeswoman, "Amy," with whom the Facebook page owner is in frequent contact. She said they want to pursue this in their own time and aren't discounting the idea of a civil suit. I really hope they pursue it. They certainly have a big support system!

  • It makes me sick that she describes herself as an "awesome" vet.
    Lock her up and throw away the key!

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