Father says his son is no cat killer
MIAMI (WSVN) -- Days after Miami-Dade Police arrested a teen for a neighborhood rampage against cats, a stunned father has stood up to defend his son's innocence.
"They don't know what they're talking about," Doug Weinman said. "They don't know Tyler."
Tuesday evening the South Florida dentist defended his 18-year-old son, Tyler Weinman, against accusations that he was a "cat killer," as the teen sat behind bars for the gruesome mutilation of more than a dozen family pets in two Southwest Miami-Dade neighborhoods.
With family pictures in hand, the father spoke just outside the jail in Miami and said his child is not a cat killer but a cat lover. The pictures depicted a smiling boy enjoying outdoor activities with his father, dating as far back as 10 years. The elder Weinman acknowledged there was a divorce but said his son dealt with it and truly loves animals. He added that the boy's stepmother owns nine cats.
The father said he truly believes police have arrested the wrong guy. "We all feel he's innocent, and you've got to have faith in God, and you feel that it's all going to work out, in the long run."
Police arrested the teenager during his prom on Sunday night and charged him with 19 counts of animal cruelty, among other charges. Police had been investigating the gruesome and deliberate deaths of several felines in both the Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay neighborhoods, where the accused spends his time living with both his divorced mother and father.
The father said the arrest and accusations have left him devastated. "Right now we are active, trying to get him released and prove his innocence," said the elder Weinman, "and that keeps you busy, but you have your moments where you just walk off into the other room and cry by yourself."
Weinman said he has received much support from those who know the family. "Many people since the incident have called and said, 'That's not Tyler. We believe it is not him,'" he said. "The minister that married myself and his stepmom about a year and a half ago called all the way from Seattle, Washington today and said, 'Your son was the best man at your wedding. I spent a lot of time with him. I'm a good judge of character, I'm a minister. It's not him.'"
Weinman said the loss of the pet owners in this case is not lost on him, but he also feels that police have captured the wrong individual in this case, and a true cat killer still remains at large. "I certainly understand the feelings of the pet owners who are suffering their loss, but please understand that it's not our son, and somebody is probably responsible for this, but it's not Tyler."
The accused appeared in bond court on Monday where a judge ordered him to undergo a psychological exam before he could be released on bond. There will be a hearing Wednesday where the judge will get the test results, which will determine whether he is a threat to the community or not, and if it is safe that he be released on bond.
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