2nd Ky Enquirer Story--9.30.08

Bond raised on suspect in cat killing

By Jim Hannah • Jhannah@nky.com • September 30, 2008

COVINGTON – A judge raised the bond of a Highland Heights man accused of stabbing to death two cats to $100,000 on Tuesday.

Russell Swigart, 30, had been held at the Kenton County jail in lieu of a $5,000 bond since his arrest on Friday. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Richmond didn’t say in open court why he asked for a hike in the bond.

Lakeside Park/Crestview Hills police were called Thursday night to Fountain Place town homes for a report of a burglary. Investigators found the back door forced open and the female resident's two cats stabbed to death.

Swigart immediately became a suspect after the cats' owner told investigators Swigart has sent her numerous text messages stating he was going to break into her home, kill the cats and burn the building down, according to the police report.

Swigart was arrested the next morning at his home. He still had a knife covered in cat hair and blood, according to the report, and told investigators that he was suicidal.

Sgt. Brad Degenhardt wrote in the report that Swigart told officers that “he had done something bad but it didn’t involve humans.” 

Swigart is charged with one count of burglary, a felony, and two animal cruelty charges, both misdemeanors.

A preliminary hearing was postponed Tuesday when Swigart appeared in court with no lawyer. He told Kenton District Judge Ann Ruttle he hadn’t had the opportunity to use a phone in jail in order to find a lawyer.

The police report states Swigart is employed by a medical products company in Indianapolis. 

Ruttle assigned the case to public defender John Delaney, who asked for the hearing to be postponed until Wednesday. He said he needed time to review the file because of the seriousness of the charges. 

The investigation in the case was continuing on Tuesday afternoon. The relationship between Swigart and the owner of the cats also wasn't discussed in open court.

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