ATHENS, Ala. — An Alabama man charged with killing kittens he bought online has been found not guilty because of mental illness.

New outlets report 52-year-old Ronald Fraser Golden was scheduled to stand trial on 22 counts of animal cruelty Monday in Limestone County. But prosecutors agreed to a defense request to have him acquitted on mental health grounds. Golden was committed to a mental hospital after he was charged in 2013.

Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson had said Golden confessed to investigators he would buy kittens using Craigslist and then break their necks or stomp them to death because he was “angry at the world.”

Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones said attorneys on both sides agreed that mental health professionals were better equipped to help Golden than the criminal justice system.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.