Stephen Paslawski, a lieutenant with the Philadelphia Fire Department, adopted Campbell, the cat who was allegedly set on fire by two Philadelphia men. Credit: PSPCA
The sentencing for a Philadelphia man who pled guilty to setting a cat on fire in November was delayed after expert witnesses testified about the case at a hearing today.
Tyrique Hall, 21, admitted to dousing a cat named Campbell with accelerant and setting him on fire on November 10. He pled guilty to animal cruelty charges and could face up to eight years in prison.
But while Hall's sentencing was scheduled for today and witnesses appeared in court to testify, Judge Lydia Kirkland adjourned sentencing until March so that a mental health evaluation of Hall can be submitted into evidence.
"When it comes to Campbell's case, it is certainly one of the most heinous that we have seen," testified Rebecca Glenn-Dinwoodie, director of litigation for the PSPCA, during the hearing. "Campbell's life was saved, but I don't believe that in any way diminishes the heinousness of this crime."
Dr. Lisa Germanis, a veterinarian with the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA) testified about the injuries Campbell showed when she treated him.
Germanis testified that Campbell, three months after the burning, is still not fully healed.
About 75 percent of Campbell's body was charred and blackened, and the burns caused part of his ears and most of his body skin to fall off.
Campbell was brought to the Matthew Ryan University of Pennsylvania veterinary hospital for "skin flap" surgery in which undamaged skin from part of his body was surgically reattached to the parts of his body where skin had fallen off, Germanis testified.
However, Campbell did not have enough skin to cover all of his body and part of his back near the tail was still uncovered, and has still not completely healed.
Additionally, Campbell's ears were badly burned and blackened and part of them fell off as he recovered from the incident.
Campbell also had a severe skin tear on his right hind leg which exposed part of the leg muscle.
The incident occurred on a Sunday around 9:30 a.m. Witnesses saw a cat in flames running down 3rd Street to Wellens Avenue. The cat was discovered in front of 331 W. Wellens Avenue, and was the same cat reported missing over the summer by a family that lived nearby, according to the PSPCA.
If Campbell had not been discovered by the PSPCA, "he would have succumbed to shock ... Within a couple days he would have been septic," Dr. Germanis testified.
Sepsis infections are typically fatal or require amputations.
Photographs were also shown in court of a milk crate which it is believed Campbell was trapped inside by Hall before being set ablaze.
Judge Kirkland ordered that Hall be kept in custody and that his bail be increased from $2,500 to $25,000 pending the sentencing date on March 27.
Prosecutor Erica Rebstock said that Hall could face a sentence of four-and-a-half to eight years in prison.
Jose Sanchez, 18, who set the cat ablaze along with Hall, was previously convicted of animal cruelty and sentenced to two years’ reporting probation on each count, two years’ prohibition from owning animals and $2,400 in restitution fines.
Lt. Steven Paslawski, of the Philadelphia Fire Department, adopted Campbell several weeks after the burning.