Friday, October 13, 1989

Georgia: Law school graduate who couldn't pass the bar, Mitchell Munoz, 34, charged in torture-killings of 77 cats and kittens.

GEORGIA -- Police charged a law school graduate with torturing and killing 77 cats he obtained through free-kitten newspaper advertisements.

Mitchell Munoz (Mitch Munoz, Mitchell M. Munoz), 34, of DeKalb County was arrested Thursday after police were tipped by an employee of a photo processing plant who saw pictures of the suspect executing the animals in his apartment.

Before making the arrest, officers said they discovered photographs of dead kittens, three severed cat tails under a bathroom sink and written diaries documenting when the cats were acquired, how they behaved and what torture and abuse was done to them.

 A nylon rope hanging from the bathroom shower rod -- used to hang kittens -- also was found, officers said.

'It's disgusting and weird,' said police Capt. A.R. King. 'We've had cruelty to animal cases over the years, but nothing this unusual.'

Detective Lanny Mosley said Munoz graduated from Emory University law school but failed to pass the bar examination.

'Isn't it horrible?' said Virginia Wilkinson, an assistant at the DeKalb County Humane Society. 'Isn't it awful? It's made everybody here sick to our stomachs.

'It worries us that his reason was that he was stressed out and just didn't like cats,' she added. 'What if he just didn't like his neighbor?'

Wilkinson said officials at the humane society were disappointed that the charge against Munoz was not more serious than a series of misdemeanors.

'I could be charged with the same thing for driving down the road too fast,' she said. 'If he could do this to cats, he must be really sick.'

Munoz, in custody at the DeKalb County jail, was charged with 77 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. Bond was set at $75,000.

Munoz, unable to hold a job since graduation, told police he obtained the cats by answering newspaper advertisements offering free kittens, authorities said. All but a few of the victims were young kittens.

Police were led to Munoz by a film processing employee who notified animal control officers after reviewing pictures of the kittens being tortured and killed. 

The roll of film had been dropped off at a drug store Oct. 9 by Munoz under a false name and address, investigators said.

After identifying Munoz, who appeared in some unrelated pictures on the roll, police searched his apartment.

During their search, Mosley said, officers found evidence that the cats had been killed starting in 1987.

(UPI - Oct 13, 1989)