Ronald Golden, a 52-year-old Athens, Ala., man who was accused of beating 22 kittens to gruesome death in a "cat room" in 2013, was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect Monday morning, reported AL.com.
Golden was scheduled to stand trial on 22 charges of animal cruelty in the Limestone County Circuit Court, but the District Attorney's Office abided a request by his defense to find him not guilty due to mental illness, the News Courier reported.
Golden was first arrested in October of 2013 after police received reports of dead kitten bodies littering the area of Bullington Road in Athens, reported AL.com. Police received an anonymous tip that Golden was the one who killed the kittens.
In a police interview, police say Golden admitted to purchasing kittens off Craigslist, giving them names, and then killing them by throwing them against the floor to break their necks, by stomping on them or by strangling them.
"Investigators searched the inside of the home and found blood spatter on the walls and floor," Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson told reporters.
Another officer, Lt. Chris Slaton, told investigators Golden killed the kittens because he was "angry at the world" and had been killing cats since July, reported WHNT.
Golden's trial was delayed and rescheduled 10 times before the Golden was declared not guilty Monday. His last scheduled trial date was supposed to be about a year ago, on Feb. 21.
Defense attorney Lucas Beaty argued that Golden was suffering from severe mental disease or defect at the time the kittens were allegedly killed, and that his client suffered from 'intermittent fits of rage and delusion," as reported the Decatur Daily.
The case sent a brief shock through the nation.
Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson even said people had called him asking how they could donate money to the prosecution team.
“I’ve never had anyone wanting to donate to the prosecution before," he told the Decatur Daily. "That really hit a nerve.