By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — An Orleans County jury has ruled that Richard Keihl acted with unjustified cruelty by causing fatal injuries to a three-month-old kitten last year.
Keihl, 31, Yates was convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals and endangering the welfare of a child after jurors returned a unanimous verdict after an hour of deliberations Friday.
The three-day trial hinged not on the injuries suffered by the kitten, which were presented without rebuttal, but instead on a pair of conflicting narratives about Keihl’s whereabouts on Memorial Day weekend.
According to the testimony of Jordan Gulczewski, Keihl was at the Heritage Meadows apartment complex during that weekend. She told jurors that he picked up a kitten from his girlfriend’s garden, walked it to the parking lot and drop kicked it; before kicking it again.
The cat limped away but was found dead later that weekend, having suffered trauma to it’s head, neck and arms.
Keihl’s family testified that he spent that weekend with friends and family at a cookout, a birthday party and relaxation at his parent’s house.
“The kitten was injured in some way ... but what’s at issue is how it happened and who did it,” Attorney Larry Koss, who represented Keihl, said in his summation. “Timeframes are important.”
Jurors sided with the case brought by District Attorney Joe Cardone, who called Keihl’s actions were “unjustifiable and senseless.” In his summation, Cardone said the motives of the witnesses was the key point for jurors to consider.
“It comes down to credibility. Is Jordan Gulczewski telling the truth, or are Charlene Keihl and Jodi Hughson,” Cardone said in his summation to jurors.
“Jordan had no motive to come up with this story; she’s a brave little girl,” Cardone continued. “With Jodi Hughson and Charlene Keihl, I think it’s what they wanted to believe — it’s not what happened.”
Keihl faces up to two years in prison for the cruelty conviction. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 29.