This is an interesting story about a man, Mark Heath, who is on trial for the murder of a 2½ year old child, Jacob Pelletier. He was alone with the child in an apartment when Jacob died. In his defence Heath alleges that Jacob’s mother hurt her son before she left for work and he died subsequently.
So, the credibility of Health as a truthful witness became an issue in deciding if he did kill Jacob. There is a discussion in court as to whether Heath has a violent character.
Heath says that he does not have a violent bone in his body. However, during a recorded prison conversation he told a visitor that he had killed a cat:
“I got attacked by a cat and I kicked the bastard. I wasn’t trying to hurt it, I was trying to get it away from me. Well, it died, it broke its neck, it was not intentional and I got a class B felony for cruelty to animals.”
During an earlier police interview about the murder the police had asked if he had ever abused a cat. Health denied it.
The Superior Court Judge Diane Nicolosi has ruled that the issue of Heath’s honesty can be assessed by a jury in reference to the cat abuse. It is important for the jury to hear how Heath created an ‘elaborate story’ when asked about the cat (I don’t know the details of the elaborate story in which he denied cat abuse) but he lied.
The judge said the cat abuse denials are evidence of a “clear and indisputable lie” when it comes to Heath’s violence and aggression.
Understanding that Heath, contrary to his statement, has a violent and dishonest character it goes towards evidence that he murdered Jacob and not his mother.
Comment: there are two points to make. Firstly it is another example of how cat cruelty can be a precursor to murder or violence against people and secondly, the domestic is always vulnerable to violent individuals as they are an outlet for anger and aggression.