A Lawrence Municipal Court judge Thursday acquitted a man who was accused of shooting a stray cat last year.
Judge Scott Miller found Jimmy R. Wilkins not guilty of misdemeanor charges animal cruelty and discharging a firearm in the city limits after a more than two-hour trial.
“He’s very happy because he feels that he had a fair shake,” defense attorney Hatem Chahine said. “From the beginning he’s denied he was ever involved in the shooting.”
Prosecutors and police had accused Wilkins of shooting the 2-year-old cat — later named Bullet at the Lawrence Humane Society — after the cat was found in a trap at a mobile home park in the 100 block of Michigan Street.
Lawrence police said animal control officers rescued the cat after it was shot twice on May 29, and officers had also said a witness alleged he heard a neighbor shoot what sounded like a gun earlier in the day.
But Chahine said the city did not present evidence showing what type of ammunition the cat was shot with.
“My client denied the whole time he ever even owned a weapon,” he said, adding that police never recovered a weapon.
The defense presented evidence that Wilkins and his family have treated animals humanely, and Chahine said traps were set for stray cats in the area but that the family would either donate the animals to the humane society or free them at an area lake.
According to the humane society, Bullet recovered from his injuries, and a family later adopted him.