Judge Says Accused Cat Killer 'Poses No Threat'

Crime, Law and JusticeJuvenile DelinquencyDeathCrimeJails and PrisonsJustice SystemPets

MIAMI - A teenager accused of killing more than a dozencats in South Florida was released on more than $200,000 bondWednesday after a judge ruled that he did not pose a danger tohimself or the community.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge John Thornton ordered Tyler HayesWeinman, 18, released after a brief hearing Wednesday morning.

Weinman, who appeared in court in a red, jail-issued uniform, willwear an electronic monitoring bracelet while he awaits his trialand will be allowed to attend counseling sessions that wererecommended by a doctor after a psychiatric evaluation.

"He is competent to proceed and does not, at this time, appearto be at risk of harming himself or others," Thornton said.

Weinman was released at 12:13 p.m. Wednesday, Miami-Dade CountyCorrections Department spokeswoman Janelle Hall said, and put underhouse arrest.

Weinman has been charged with 19 counts each of animal crueltyand improperly disposing of an animal body.

He also faces fourcounts of burglary related to the cat deaths. His bond, which wasset at $249,500, was posted Tuesday.

"He's just a good kid who's a victim of circumstances," saidhis attorney, Michael Walsh. "He did not do this crime."

If convicted, Weinman could face a maximum sentence of 158 yearsin prison.

Weinman is accused of the gruesome cat killings that terrorizedresidents of two south Miami-Dade County neighborhoods for about amonth. Police believe he is behind the deaths of more than a dozenanimals, whose mutilated bodies were discovered by their owners orother residents. Police say they investigated the deaths of about30 cats, but they say some were likely killed by dogs.

"He's an innocent man," Walsh said. "There's no evidence.Obviously, there's been a public outcry to solve this crime and youknow that that motivates police in certain directions. And now thisyoung man has to sit there and bear the allegations. When the casestarts to unfold, you'll see."

Weinman, who was arrested over the weekend, is scheduled to bearraigned July 6. His father and stepmother attended Wednesday'shearing. Outside the courthouse, his father told reporters that hewas confident his son wasn't involved in the deaths.

"I'm absolutely sure that he is innocent," Doug Weinman said."Because I've raised a son for 18 years and I know who he is."

Alicia Glatzer, whose cat, Sarah, was found killed and mutilatedoutside her family's Palmetto Bay home in early May, said she wasshocked by Weinman's release.

"It's disturbing that they would let him out knowing that hehas killed so many cats," Glatzer said. "Although he says he'sinnocent and his attorney says he's innocent, there hasn't been anycat killings since he's been in jail. It's a concern of mine thathe's let out, that's he's back on the street."

Police said they arrested Weinman after tracking the teenagerfor some time. He was taken to the police station for an interviewon his prom night and his house was placed under surveillance. Buton Wednesday, Walsh was critical of the investigation, saying thathis client's arrest was based on circumstantial evidence.

"He doesn't know who did it," Walsh said. "He has no idea.Next thing he knows, he's in the back of a police car beingarrested for this crime."

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