Virginia Beach, Va. – Sailor Cody Gerarden was found guilty of torturing a cat named Pirate to death leading to emotions both inside and outside a Virginia Beach courtroom on Tuesday.
“It makes me feel good. We promised we would get him justice, ” said a tearful Joan Terry.
She is a volunteer at the Norfolk SPCA where Pirate was adopted.
“Pirate didn’t have a voice. No animal has a voice, so we have to speak up for them.”
Though silent, Terry and other representatives from the Norfolk SPCA did have a voice for Pirate, making a presence inside the courtroom where Gerarden’s jury trial turned into a plea deal.
The Commonwealth agreeing to not prosecute a conspiracy charge if Gerarden pleaded to the felony animal cruelty charge.
Which he did, pleading ‘no contest’. This means he was not admitting guilt, but he admitted that there was enough evidence against him.
NewsChannel 3 was able to get access to that evidence on Tuesday.
It included pictures of Pirate after he died. The black and white cat hidden under a pile of leaves near the home where Gerarden and his former roommate Justin Page used to live.
Page is also charged with torturing Pirate to death and is awaiting his trial scheduled for later this month.
NewsChannel 3 was also able to obtain a written transcript of an interview between Gerarden and the animal control officer investigating Pirate’s death. In that transcript Gerarden confesses to strangling Pirate with a rope saying he “Pulled it tight, took about 5-10 seconds”.
“In his pre-trial he said he worked on a farm and he put animals down before and didn’t think it was cruel what he did to Pirate,” Terry said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, can we kill you like that? We can return the favor’.”
Gerarden’s sentencing is scheduled for May 24th.
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