FloriDUH: Man shoots neighbor twice in the back -- over cats. Say cats "are people too."
posted by Barbara Hijek on Jun 25, 2009 8
Frederick Heustis, 67, admits he shot his neighbor. Heustis.jpg
"Yes, I'm the bad guy," he said from an interview room in the Land O'Lakes jail, where he is being held on a charge of attempted murder, reports the St. Petersburg Times
He shot his neighbor — Joseph Sosnowski, 68 — twice in the back on Sosnowski's porch. The bullets exited through his chest.
Sosnowski, who spent 12 years working as a detention deputy in the very jail where his neighbor sits, is in stable condition and recovering.
Heustis said it was about his cats. He has about nine of them and they live outside. Heustis suspects Sosnowski's grandson and another neighbor have been killing them. "Thirteen dead in three years," Heustis said.
Divorced and with a grown son who sometimes visits, Heustis said he lives alone with his two birds — Tweetie Deetie and Hoodie Doodie — and his cats.
"That's my family," he said. "And I'm going to protect them."
He said he has found his cats shot inside his yard, but the authorities told him there's nothing they can do. "They didn't see it happen," he said. Heustis said he was in his yard working on his tractor when Sosnowski called to him through the fence. "I tried to ignore him," Heustis said.
After Sosnowski called to him a second time, Heustis replied: "Hey, Joe, what's the problem?" Heustis said Sosnowski told him that one of his cats — a black cat named Black Kitty — had been sitting on his grass in his yard for four days. Heustis said he told him to spray the cat with some water and he'll go away.
They argued and parted, Heustis said, and he went inside to his bedroom. He said he started shaking, and his whole body got flushed with rage. "I was burning up," he said. "And I couldn't take it anymore." Then he said: "I picked up my revolver and put it in my pocket." He walked over to Sosnowski's house. He said they argued some more and Sosnowski grabbed the phone to call the police.
"When he had the phone in his hand, I was like, 'If I'm going to jail, it's going to be for a good reason,' " Heustis said.
And he shot him. Twice.
He said he kept thinking of his cats: "Leave my cats alone. They are people too."
He said jail life is much like his regular life: eating, napping, watching TV. Although television upsets him. "Everything is so violent," he said. "They don't have any Ozzie and Harriet anymore."
He said he wasn't able to sleep well in his house because of his worry for his cats. "For three years, I put up with it," he said. "I'm mad as hell."
But, he said: "Last night I slept better than I have in a long time."