MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Two men are headed to jail for their part in the torture and scalding death of a caged cat. Video of the abuse at a home in Moss Point was posted on social media and went viral, creating a firestorm of outrage. WLOX News Now was in court Tuesday as the sentences were handed down.
Before court began, a thank you letter was handed over to the Moss Point Police Department for bringing charges in the case.
Laderrick Rostchild was led into the courtroom in handcuffs and sat quietly as defendant Karmen Coleman testified for the prosecution. Animal rights advocates packed the courtroom.
Defense attorney Cameron McCormick tried his only option for acquittal, saying a stray cat cannot be considered a pet.
Judge Keith Miller found Laderrick guilty of aggravated animal abuse. The sentence is six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Another defendant, Larry Rostchild, pleaded guilty to simple abuse. His sentence is 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Perhaps the most poignant part of the sentence for both gentlemen will be 200 hours of community service at the Jackson County Animal Shelter. For the animal advocates in the courtroom, that was good news. One of them is Linda Bock.
"I think that's the most incredible part of the sentence. That's going to teach them what cruelty really looks like, give them an inside look at what takes place at the Jackson County Animal Shelter. I think it's fantastic," Bock explained.
This case has brought animal abuse to the forefront, according to advocate Courtnie Lee.
"We want to show people how important it is that animal abuse does not continue in Mississippi. We want to change those laws. We're being stalled on the laws right now, and we want to get a point across that animal abuse doesn't happen in Mississippi," Lee said.
The case was hard to prosecute because of it' graphic nature. Cmdr. Stacey Deans is with the Moss Point Police Department.
"This is something that I've never seen before. It was a very unusual case. It was pretty disheartening," Deans explained.
An appeal is not likely, according to McCormick.
"I'll meet with Mr. Rostchild and the family, and if an appeal is something they want to go forward on, I'll discuss how we can perfect that and go forward. But, at this time, there's no appeal pending," said McCormick.
With that came applause from the advocates and a vow to continue the fight for animal rights.
Coleman, the third defendant in the case, pleaded not guilty to rendering criminal assistance and will be assigned a court appointed attorney. Her trial will be held at a later date.