Man accused of setting cat on fire found 6 months after skipping court

A Middletown man facing a felony charge of animal cruelty for allegedly setting a cat on fire in 2017 has been found in a neighboring county jail about six months after he did not appear for a hearing for felony animal cruelty.

Kevin L. Sullivan, 33, was scheduled to appear in Butler County Common Pleas Court in May, but when he was a no-show, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest by Judge Charles Pater.

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Sullivan had been free after posting a $50,000 bond for the animal cruelty charge, which is a fifth-degree felony.

Today, the judge and assistant prosecutor Kraig Chadrick indicated Sullivan was serving a jail sentence in Montgomery County and could be returned to Butler County by the end of the month.

A hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 27 in Pater’s courtroom.

Sullivan was indicted in March on two counts of forgery by a Montgomery County grand jury, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to the charges involving checks in the amount of more than $4,000 passed at MainSource Bank.

Sullivan was sentenced to five years probation and 30 days in the Montgomery County Jail.

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Sullivan was previously declared competent to stand trial in Butler County based on a court-ordered psychological evaluation.

Middletown police and Butler County Deputy Dog Warden Jamie Hearlihy were dispatched Sept. 18, 2017 to Howard Avenue, where the fire department had put out the cat that was ablaze.

A police officer shot the cat to put it out of its misery, according to a police report.

Samples taken from the cat and the blanket used to smother the fire indicated that lighter fluid was used, according to court records.

Police said Sullivan initially lied to them about his involvement, but an investigation by Middletown police and the dog warden’s office led back to him as a suspect.

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