EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 6, 2013

Accused cat killer agrees to stay in jail as case continues

By Julie Manganis
Staff Writer

---- — BEVERLY — A Beverly man charged with torturing and killing his mother’s cat waived his right to a “dangerousness” hearing yesterday.

Instead, Anthony Geyer, 21, agreed to be held in custody without bail while charges of animal cruelty and witness intimidation are pending. That decision averted a hearing where prosecutors were expected to detail not only the results of a necropsy on 6-month-old Spooky, but Geyer’s “lengthy” criminal record.

Geyer was charged after his birth mother, Cheri Brown, returned home from a hospital stay to find her cat dead. Neighbors said they had seen Geyer abusing it. His mother believed he had done it in retaliation, because she had called police about a domestic assault that resulted in Geyer’s being arrested the previous week.

Prosecutor Lynsey Legier had been prepared to submit a stack of documents that included Geyer’s criminal record in Illinois, where he was raised by adoptive parents; incident reports from his Illinois arrests; restraining orders taken out by Brown as well as his biological father, who lives in Amesbury; photos of the kitten; and articles on the links between animal cruelty and violence toward humans.

A series of witnesses, including Brown and Beverly police Patrolman Dan Brown, were also present to testify.

Defense lawyer Steve Reardon, however, objected to Legier’s filing the documents in court, which would have made them public, and Judge Sabita Singh decided she would not accept them.

Besides the pending domestic abuse allegation involving his mother, Geyer’s record includes a felony domestic abuse charge and conviction in Tremont, Ill., in 2010, and an arrest last year in Peoria, Ill., where he and a second man were charged in a three-month vandalism spree that involved slashing tires on more than 50 cars, according to the Peoria, Ill. Journal-Star newspaper. The outcome of the second case was not reported.

Legier told the judge that Geyer’s “escalating violence” was “very concerning” to prosecutors.

She also urged the judge to set a separate, $50,000 cash bail on the animal cruelty charge, which Geyer would be allowed to post only after he spends 90 days in custody, and to impose a requirement that he wear a GPS bracelet.

Reardon balked at that condition, saying that while it’s unlikely that Geyer will be released, he will have no place to live once he does. Singh set the $50,000 bail but did not order a GPS.

She also ordered Geyer, who will be held at Middleton Jail, to have no contact with any of the witnesses in the case.

Outside court, Reardon said Geyer has disclosed serious abuse as a child, which led to him being placed in foster care and then adopted by an Illinois couple who raised him from about the age of 5 until a couple of years ago.

“I intend to get to the bottom of that. To the extent that any of the accusations have any truth, there must be a root cause,” said Reardon. “If true, the allegations obviously indicate someone who has extreme psychiatric issues.”

Reardon said he did not know the details of the alleged abuse, including who committed it. But he said the process of reconnecting with his birth parents may have caused tension for Geyer.