A Lexington County, South Carolina feral colony caregiver was shot to death Thursday evening by a man when an argument over the cats turned violent. The accused claimed that he was acting defensively (see update).
The tragedy took place on Main Street in Lexington where Gilbert resident Judy Dyanne Burnett, 72 was shot in the face during an argument. Police were called to the scene around 5:40 p.m. Burnett initially argued with a witness who was with Malahy. Malahy then argued with Burnett.
Burnett was near the fence line behind Town Square shopping center. Forty-nine-year-old Sean Eric Malahy was found at the scene with a gun and charged with murder and possession of a firearm during a violent crime.
Lexington Police Department Chief Terrence Green announced in a press release that
“Through the investigation, it was found that Judy Burnett and Sean Malahy had known each other for a number of years and that they had ongoing disagreements about their own involvement in the feeding, trapping, and releasing of feral cats that are known to live behind businesses in the wooded areas along West Main Street.”
Officers began rendering aid until EMS arrived. Lexington County Coroner’s Office announced Gilbert was pronounced dead upon arrival at an area hospital after being transported from the scene after suffering a gunshot wound to the face.
This case is made even more disturbing since Mahaly and Burnett were both feeding the feral cats (according to Action News Jax). Mahaly failed to give a statement to police and remains in jail as of Friday evening.
The case is still under investigation. I’ve done a bit of snooping since posting this article and one person commented Burnett fed the cats behind the businesses. Another person stated Mahaly was the one feeding the cats. What a mess!
Anyone with additional information (not gossip), please leave a comment. I’ll be keeping watch myself for more information.
Update from Michael: Sean Eric Malahy was refused bail (bond) yesterday having been charged with murder and possession of a weapon. He said that he was unemployed and that he receives $700 a month in disability. As mentioned by Elisa, it is reported that the dispute was over how to care for the feral cats. The topic of the argument is unknown. They had clashed before. Malahy refused to speak to detectives. However, in court on Friday he said that the shooting was defensive i.e. he acted in self defence it seems to me. He said:
I was attacked. I was punched in the face. I had nowhere to retreat.
He kept his head down during the three-minute hearing at the Lexington County bond court. He is due back in court on fourth February for another hearing.
This is a Facebook post by Malahy:
Source Fox Carolina News, Facebook: Lexington County Coroner’s Office, Action News Jax.