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Two Alle-Kiski men accused of harming cats in separate incidents

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Friday, June 28, 2013, 12:36 a.m.

Two local cases of cruelty to animals in which cats were killed have been sent to Allegheny County Court.

Justin Elliott Bartlett, of 637 School Alley, Tarentum, waived his right to a preliminary hearing before District Judge Carolyn Bengel in Brackenridge, sending his charges to county court.

Bengel bound the charges against John Johnston of 1220 Outlook St., Harrison, over to court following a hearing.

Brackenridge police charged Bartlett, 21, with cruelty to animals, arson, burglary, criminal mischief and theft in an incident that occurred around Jan. 21.

Police were called to the residence of Richard Marvin of Cleveland Avenue, who told them that he had just arrived home and found a glass patio door broken and a skylight knocked out in the ceiling. Marvin told police he looked around but could find nothing missing except his cat.

As he walked around the house with police, Marvin found his cat, which had been burned to death.

In addition, police said Marvin's cat carrier was melted in the backyard. There were paw prints leading from the carrier to where the dead cat lay.

An empty gas can was on Marvin's back porch, which Marvin identified as Bartlett's.

Marvin said he had been friends with Bartlett, but they had a falling out recently.

Police say Bartlett initially claimed that he was out of town. When pressed, police say he admitted to burning the cat, saying he was hurt that Marvin ended their friendship.

Police say he signed a confession admitting to breaking into Marvin's house and burning the cat alive.

Bartlett is being held in the Allegheny County Jail.

Johnston, 38, was charged with cruelty to animals and disorderly conduct. Those charges resulted from a June 6 incident in which a neighbor, Steve Peloquin, said he saw Johnston pick up a cat, described as a “neighborhood cat.”

Peloquin testified that Johnston had the cat by the neck, twirled it around and then threw it, “with all his might,” over an embankment into some woods.

Harrison police Sgt. Floyd Taraszewski testified that he located the cat on a porch of a neighbor, who fed the animal.

“I went over to the cat and it could hardly walk,” he said.

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or

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