A Tennessee man who arrested after he allegedly grabbed a cat by its neck and kicked it into the air was found dead near an Alabama highway over the weekend.
Sheriff's officers discovered the body on a county road near the highway on Saturday morning. It was later identified as the body of Deijon Roberson, 21, who was arrested earlier this year for animal abuse.
His cause of death has not yet been released. However, officials say they are investigating the incident as a homicide case and have identified persons of interest, WHNT reports.
Roberson made headline news earlier this year after he was arrested for abusing a cat.
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The scene was witnessed by Kristen Williams and her fiance when, on Christmas Eve 2014, they saw their neighbor Roberson approach a cat in his yard.
“He picked up the cat by its neck and just kicked it,” Williams told WVLT at the time, “kicked it up in the air.”
According to Williams, the cat hit a power line and fell on the ground.
“I had the cat in my hand and I tried to position her head to, you know, where she could get comfortable,” she recounted. “She twitched twice, and she finally curled her head up — perched it up on my arm. We went across the street to wait for the police. She twitched one more time and then she was gone.”
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Williams — an owner of three cats herself — contacted law enforcement officials who were later on the scene.
Roberson allegedly fled in a van. His uncle, Stephen Cummings, reportedly told officials that the cat had gone inside of his home and attacked a child. Roberson allegedly reacted to defend the family.
After taking Roberson into custody, however, officials learned that the cat was nowhere near a child at the time he kicked it.
“Well if a person would do that to an animal,” neighbor Bill Galliher told WVLT, “what would they do to a human? Probably the same or worse.”
Police later arrested Roberson. He was held on a $1,000 bond at the time and faced charges of aggravated animal cruelty as well as violating his probation.
According to Williams, the family has had trouble with animals before. In one instance, Williams allegedly rescued one of their puppies because it was hungry and stuck in a fence.
Police are still investigating Roberson's death.
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