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Guilford man who killed father’s cat with frying pan found guilty of animal cruelty

Ryan Carleton appears in a Dover-Foxcroft courtroom Tuesday
Ryan Carleton appears in a Dover-Foxcroft courtroom Tuesday(WABI)
Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:46 PM EDT
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DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine (WABI) - A split decision Tuesday from a judge in Piscataquis County regarding the case of a Guilford man accused of killing his father’s cat with a frying pan.

Ryan Carleton was found guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty, but not guilty on a felony aggravated cruelty charge.

The 44-year-old’s jury-waived trial wrapped up Tuesday evening after one day in a Dover-Foxcroft courtroom.

Last Thanksgiving, Carleton’s father called police saying his son was at his home in Sangerville acting aggressively.

Previous bail conditions barred Carleton from contacting his father, who had let him stay because he had no where else to go.

After Carleton was taken into custody, his father says he found the body of his months-old kitten, Princess, in Carleton’s bedroom. According to a witness, Carleton admitted to killing the animal, saying he did so because it attacked him.

Carleton represented himself in this trial but asked a court-appointed attorney serving as standby counsel to read a statement during Tuesday’s proceedings.

”He asked that his righteous anger should be recognized as that of a man who feels wrongfully accused, and is thusly showing his contempt for condemnation of his matters. A man driven to the brink, your Honor, by injustices he never thought he’d see heaped upon any white man, much less himself. Those are his words, judge,” said Jeffrey Toothaker, Carleton’s standby counsel.

“I mean it’s pretty straightforward,” Piscataquis County Assistant District Attorney Christopher Almy said. “Mr. Carleton has some mental difficulties. Certainly that’s going to play a role in this whole thing, but I think the conduct that he engaged in with respect to the cat is really pretty -- is fairly horrific.”

According to Almy, Carleton was found guilty of three felonies, including theft, assault on a correctional officer, and bail violation. He was also found guilty of several criminal mischief charges that happened while he was in jail.

He was found not guilty on a number of other charges, including OUI, resisting arrest, and trespass.

Carleton will be sentenced at a later date.

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