http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2018/02/ronald_golden_the_accused_crai.htmlRonald Golden, the accused Craigslist cat killer, has been found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
Golden, a 52-year-old from Athens, was set for trial this morning on 22 felony counts of cruelty to a cat. But Limestone County prosecutors conceded a motion by the defense to find Golden not guilty for mental health reasons. Golden, according to court records, was committed to a mental hospital right after confessing to police that he killed multiple cats.
Golden would name the cats before throwing them to the floor, breaking their necks or stomping them to death because he was "angry at the world," Athens police Chief Floyd Johnson told reporters when the suspect was arrested more than four years ago.
Police began investigating in September 2013 when they received a report about kitten bodies found in the Bullington Road area, where Golden lived, police have said. During the investigation, police got an anonymous tip that Golden was the killer, the chief has said.
"Golden admitted to buying kittens off Craigslist, naming them and then killing them," Johnson said in 2013. "Golden told investigators he had a cat room where he would throw the kittens against the floor to break their necks, stomp on them or 'wring their necks."
In a motion filed this past week, Golden's attorney Lucas Beaty asked the judge to keep his client's statements out of the trial. Beaty told the judge that after Golden was interrogated, police took him to a mental hospital, where he was detained for 10 days until a probate judge deemed him "mentally ill." That judge, according to court documents, ruled that Golden was "in need of treatment and was unable to make rational and informed decisions..."
"At the time of interrogation, the defendant was mentally incapable of understanding his Miranda rights and, therefore, was unable to knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently waive the same," Beaty wrote in court records.
Limestone County Circuit Judge Robert Baker said he will set a hearing within the next few months to determine Golden's future. Depending on the results of a mental evaluation, Golden could be institutionalized or required to seek other forms of mental health treatment.