Handyman Gets 4-Year Term in Killing of Man Over a Cat

Times Staff Writer

A Chatsworth handyman was sentenced Tuesday to four years in state prison for helping pummel a man to death during an argument over ownership of a cat.

Van Nuys Superior Court Commissioner Alan B. Haber ordered Jeffrey Newman, 30, who was diagnosed by a court-appointed psychiatrist as suffering from schizophrenia, to serve the maximum sentence allowed under a plea bargain.

Newman, who pleaded guilty in February to voluntary manslaughter, initially faced murder charges for helping his wife, Darlene, and a friend, Donald Kincade, fatally beat Larry Ray, a 33-year-old Tarzana carpenter. Prosecutors said the beating was in retaliation for Ray’s wife, Lisa, having reclaimed her pet cat from Kincade’s apartment.

According to a probation report, Kincade and his girlfriend took the cat from the Rays nine months before the June 15, 1983 attack. The assault occurred shortly after Lisa Ray spotted the animal in the Kincade apartment and kicked out a screen to take the pet back.


Died of Internal Injuries

Witnesses said Kincade and the Newmans chased Larry Ray into a garage and pinned him to the floor as they kicked and hit him repeatedly. He died six days later of internal injuries, the report said.

Kincade, who pleaded guilty in February to voluntary manslaughter, was sentenced last month to four years in state prison.

Darlene Newman, a 41-year-old administrator at a San Fernando Valley retirement home, pleaded guilty April 9 to assault with intent to commit great bodily injury. She was ordered to spend 180 days in County Jail.


Jeffrey Newman, whose sentencing was delayed until a psychologist could prepare a report on his condition, has been under intermittent psychiatric care since 1973 and was last hospitalized for mental illness in 1978, the report said.