WOODBRIDGE, Va. - A Prince William County man is facing a charge of felony animal cruelty after he is accused of abusing and killing his neighbor's cat after surveillance video of the incident helped police arrest him. The cat's owner showed the disturbing video to FOX 5, which allegedly shows him grabbing and punching the 9-month-old cat.
Merron Mears said she suspected something was off a few weeks before her cat, Samantha, died last month.
"We knew that something was wrong with her after I took her to the veterinarian office and they said that her liver enzymes were high, so it was a sign of poisoning," she said. "Afterwards, there was a blunt trauma incident. So after that, we decided to put two cameras in my basement apartment bedroom. About a week after the veterinarian [visit], we caught a gentleman on camera who was going into my room and beating my cat."
The 59-year-old suspect, Jean Claude Verboom, and Mears were tenants in a duplex in Woodbridge. When she suspected something was happening to her cat while she was gone, she informed her landlord and was given permission to set up the cameras that police said caught Verboom in the act.
In the surveillance video, the suspect is seen repeatedly punching Mears' cat. The tabby mix was discovered dead on May 26.
After Mears saw the video, she was enraged.
"I was really pissed off," she said. "I didn't think that she was going to die. I thought she was just going to be hurt. But when I showed up back at my house and police escorted me in, I ended up finding her dead."
Mears said she had minimal interaction with Verboom aside from greeting each other.
"We lived together for about just four months," she said. "He shared a basement with me. He had a separate room from me and he seemed like a perfectly fine person. Sane, nice. But he wasn't."
Police said Verboom confessed to killing the cat and he is being held without bond. However, it remains a mystery what prompted the attack.
Verboom is scheduled to appear in court on July 25.