Craigslist animal abuse suspect pleads guilty

Published: Dec. 11, 2012 at 11:52 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2013 at 12:32 AM EST
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One of the cat's Phelps received from Craigslist.
One of the cat's Phelps received from Craigslist.
Alex Phelps
Alex Phelps
Another cat Phelps got off of Craigslist.
Another cat Phelps got off of Craigslist.

SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A jury trial comes to a swift resolution when a man accused of torturing cats pleaded guilty. The trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday morning. Instead, Alex Phelps changed his plea in connection to eight counts of animal abuse that resulted in physical injury or death.

Phelps, 24, received the pets from Craigslist ads and performed various medical experiments on the animals, according to Bullitt County prosecutors. He accepted a plea deal that includes five years in prison for each count. However, the sentences would run concurrently.

"I didn't advise him to take it but we laid the facts out for him and it was his decision. Given the scope of the evidence, he thought it was in his best interest to resolve the case," Phelps' attorney Thomas Clay said.

Because of the time Phelps has served, he is eligible for parole immediately, but prosecutors say they plan to fight any attempt to get Phelps released on parole.

Prosecutors claimed he performed medical procedures on several cats.  Animal activists worked to increase a reward for the person responsible for the crime before Phelps' arrest.

"That's in honor of the cats that's suffered greatly.  These animals were tortured beyond belief," Shamrock Arrow Fund's Rebecca Eaves said.

Phelps' attorney said he was even baffled by the case. "I've never seen one like this in the 38 years I've been doing this," Clay added.

"He was sentenced five years. I want him to stay behind bars for five years. That's the problem around here, people are convicted and they get a slap on the wrist.  It's not acceptable here anymore," Eaves said.

Phelps remains out on bond. Formal sentencing is scheduled for January 11 in Bullitt Circuit Court.

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