Prison for man who beat wife's cats with baseball bat in East Prospect
A former East Prospect man must serve about a year in county prison for beating his wife's three cats with a baseball bat, killing one and permanently maiming the others.
Presiding Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook also prohibited Brandon Allen Park from owning or possessing animals for 21 years. State law now allows judges to impose ownership prohibitions for the length of time of defendants' maximum possible sentences.
Park, 24, of Arendtsville, Adams County, appeared in York County Court Thursday, Aug. 23, to be sentenced for the brutal attack. He hung his head throughout most of the hearing, repeatedly apologized and said he is working hard to become a better person.
Humane Police Officer Nicole Lawrence of the York County SPCA spoke in court, saying she arrived at the scene 40 minutes after Park's wife called 911 and found that Park had fled the home by that time.
"What you left behind is unforgivable," she told him.
Lawrence told the judge that she found blood spatter several feet high on a wall.
Deidre, 2, and Boo, who is 12 or 14 years old, were lying on the kitchen floor — Deidre in a pool of blood, Lawrence said. Both had been badly beaten.
Deidre spent months recovering while confined to a small cage. She lost her left eye, according to Lawrence.
Leg amputated: Boo's injuries included a broken leg, broken ribs and broken teeth. Despite the SPCA's best efforts, Boo's leg had to be amputated, and she also endured a long recovery period, Lawrence said.
Buff, 6, was killed in the attack. He was found on the floor behind a television with multiple injuries and died of head trauma, she said.
Photos shown in court by senior deputy prosecutor Justin Roberts allowed Judge Cook to see the injuries for herself and to see a shocking photo of a wall spattered and smeared with the cats' blood.
Cook noted it's a good thing Park's wife fled the home before the violence began in earnest.
"I believe if she hadn't, she may have been one of the more (seriously injured) victims," the judge said, calling the attack "horrific."
A better life: Deidre and Boo have captured the hearts of everyone at the SPCA, according to Lawrence.
After they recovered, they were moved to the staff area of the shelter — where they remain — rather than being put in cages on public display.
That means they can jump, play, roam around and interact with staffers, Lawrence said.
Eventually, they will be adopted to a good family, hopefully one that can take both cats, Lawrence said. For now, the cats will remain at the SPCA.
Boo is a happy cat, while Deidre is a spunky girl who loves to play with toys, Lawrence said.
Guilty plea: Park pleaded guilty June 20 to three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, all third-degree felonies. It was an open plea, meaning there was no negotiated plea agreement, according to court records.
Roberts, the prosecutor, requested Park be sentenced to 3½ to seven years in state prison.
"The level to which the defendant acted out is extreme, to put it lightly," he said. "The defendant's decision-making and anger level are dangerous to everyone else. ... This time he picked three animals that couldn't fight back."
Roberts noted the cats "had nowhere to run and no one to protect them," and stressed that he continues to have "serious concerns (about) the risk the defendant poses" to animals and humans, including his wife.
But Park's attorney, public defender Connor Tarr, noted that Park immediately sought mental-health and drug and alcohol evaluations after the attack, and that he's been diagnosed with a mental-health issue.
Intensive therapy: Park remains in intensive thrice-weekly therapy plus couples' therapy, his attorney said, and he also remains employed and committed to making things right as best he can.
Park told the judge that what he did was "horrible," that he "absolutely" deserves jail time and that he knows his apologies simply aren't good enough.
"I'm doing everything ... in my power right now to show to both you and my wife that this won't happen again," he told Cook. "Besides what I did to the animals, what I did to my wife's life is (just as bad). I can't fix that."
Park's wife, Charriesse Kinsinger, told the judge that the attack was out of character for her husband.
"Your honor, I beg you to see he's a good person," she said. "He's my best friend."
Kinsinger said her therapy has been helping her husband.
"I see how hard he's working, how much effort he's putting in," she said. "He is really trying to make up for what he did. ... I'm proud to call him my husband again."
Tarr said Park's underlying mental-health issue was the root cause of the attack, and he asked for a sentence that would allow his client to remain in county prison.
Judge struggled: Cook struggled to decide what sentence to impose.
"We hope that he's sincere in his efforts ... to better himself for the future," she said.
Cook sentenced Park to a minimum of a year minus a day in York County Prison to a maximum of two years minus two days, after which he must be on probation for four years.
She also ordered him to perform 150 hours of community service, pay the York County SPCA $1,544.76 in restitution, pay a $300 fine and not own or keep animals for 21 years. He must report to prison Sept. 7, she said.
The background: State troopers were called to Park's former home on Lemon Avenue in East Prospect shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15.
Their investigation determined Park was angry about a malfunctioning video game, court documents state. Kinsinger tried to fix the game, but her efforts "enraged" him, police said.
Park grabbed a metal softball bat and threw it at her, hitting her in the chin, left arm and foot, court documents state.
He then left their home, warning her that if she was there when he returned, "then he was going to kill her," according to documents.
Kinsinger fled to a neighbor's apartment and stayed there for about five minutes, until she saw Park drive away, police said. When she returned home, she found that Park had beaten her three cats, police have said.
A study done by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that more than 85 percent of women and 63 percent of children arriving at domestic-abuse shelters reported incidents of their pets being abused.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.