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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Cat found with crushed neck, skull (Hearing 1/25/08)

**Important** There is a hearing Friday, Jan 25, 2008!!!
Here is the judge and the address:

Hon. Douglas C. Boyack
60 North Washington Street, Sonora, CA 95370
Phone: 209-533-5563
Case # CRF-25456 (<-- be sure to include this case number if writing a letter or calling!)

A man facing charges for allegedly killing a cat with his bare hands in October will go for psychological evaluation before criminal proceedings continue.

Steven Bruce Tippett, 51, was arrested Oct. 29 on suspicion of felony animal cruelty and appeared in court for a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

The hearing was continued until a psychologist can evaluate Tippett to determine if he is mentally fit enough to understand the proceedings and assist his attorney in his defense.

"At this point, we have a serious concern about it," said Deputy Public Defender Carolyn Woodall, who was standing in for Tippett's attorney Deputy Public Defender Clay Bedford.

If a psychologist finds he is not mentally competent, Tippett will undergo counseling, treatment or education before proceedings resume.

Five members of Sonora Cat Rescue, a nonprofit group that works to spay and neuter feral cats and place some cats in homes, appeared to watch the proceedings.

As Tippett, who was released from jail Oct. 31 on the promise to appear in court, passed the group on the way into the courtroom, he meowed at them, the members said.

The group members said they wanted to follow the proceedings after they heard of the allegations.

Upon evaluation, the cat's neck and skull were crushed.

Deputy District Attorney Dee Shepherd is the attorney for the prosecution in the case.

Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Doug Boyack set a hearing to evaluate the psychologist's report for 1:15 p.m. Jan. 2 in Department 4.

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