Middletown man accused of setting cat on fire to undergo psych evaluation

A Middletown man facing a felony charge of animal cruelty for allegedly setting a cat on fire will return to court in May for a hearing to determine his competency to stand trial.

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The pre-trial hearing for Kevin L. Sullivan, 32, of Howard Avenue, was held Tuesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court where Judge Charles Pater ordered a psychological evaluation to determine Sullivan’s competency.

Sullivan is free on $50,000 bond.

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Middletown police and Butler County Deputy Dog Warden Jamie Hearlihy were dispatched Sept. 18 to Howard Avenue near Arlington Avenue, where the fire department had put out the cat that was ablaze.

A police officer shot the cat to put it out of its misery, according to a police report.

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Samples taken from the cat and the blanket used to smother the fire indicated that lighter fluid was used, according to court records.

Police said Sullivan initially lied to them about his involvement, but an investigation by Middletown police and the dog warden’s office led back to him as a suspect.

Sullivan was indicted by a Butler County grand jury in January on the fifth-degree felony.

His case is one of three felony animal cruelty cases pending in the county.

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