MARTINSBURG, W.Va. —A man accused of shooting a caged kitten multiple times with a BB gun and killing it has agreed to enter a guilty plea to a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty, according to Berkeley County Circuit Court records.
The plea offer was accepted Thursday by Justin Michael Beall, 23, of Pasadena, Md., who was scheduled to have a pretrial hearing.
Presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gina M. Groh could sentence Beall on April 19 pending the outcome of a pre-plea investigation.
Under the terms of plea agreement, Groh still would have full discretion in sentencing if she allows the misdemeanor plea to be entered, according to court records.
Beall, who was indicted on a felony count of animal cruelty, still could be ordered by Groh to serve up to six months in jail, undergo counseling and anger management, and perform community service hours upon entering a guilty plea to the misdemeanor charge, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Timothy D. Helman said.
A witness told authorities that Beall reportedly smiled before he pointed the gun into the cage and shot the cat four to six times, according to court records.
A Berkeley County animal control officer reported that the kitten was being kept in a metal cage under a home at 1397 Conservation Drive in the area of Hedgesville, W.Va., the records said.