SEVERE WX : Freeze Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Tippecanoe County man avoids jail time for role in cat drowning caught on video

Walter Kenneth Baldwin pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to all counts.

Posted: Oct 15, 2019 1:40 PM
Updated: Oct 16, 2019 6:19 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — A Tippecanoe County man will serve no time behind bars for trapping and drowning a cat. 

Walter Kenneth Baldwin pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to all counts. Baldwin is sentenced to six months in community corrections and 1.5 years of suspended supervised probation. Baldwin also owes a $2,500 fine. 

As we previously reported, a video was posted on social media in November 2018 showing a cat trapped inside a cage on the deck of a pond. Baldwin is seen in the video smoking a cigar in his car. The person filming asks Baldwin "You ready?" Baldwin replies, "Go for it." That person then kicked the cage with the cat inside into the water. The video ends by showing the cage falling to the bottom of the pond until it disappeared.

The cat inside the cage was trapped at 52 Mobile Home Estates, a mobile home park owned by Baldwin. The cat in the video was wearing a collar, which the state argued is an assumption that it is domestic, and not feral. 

During Tuesday's hearing News 18 learned a fisherman later recovered the cage with the cat inside long after the incident. The cat was found dead. 

Baldwin had a large group of supporters during Tuesday's trial. Seven people took the stand to defend him. Here's some of the statements they made:

"He's very generous." 

"[Baldwin] is a good person. He's helped out a lot of people over the years."

"You couldn't meet a better person."

"The cat thing is totally out of his character."

"I've never seen him be violent."

"This ain't his character."

Baldwin's attorney also asked if they were aware of the cat issues at 52 Mobile Home Estates. Every person said yes. 

The state argued that although there is a feral cat problem at the mobile home park, Baldwin refused all offers to help. 

Seth Kirkendall, Animal Control Officer at the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office, testified in Tuesday's hearing. He told the courtroom about the first time he met Baldwin. 

Kirkendall met Baldwin at 52 Mobile Home Estates to talk about chickens that were running around the property. While he was there, he said Baldwin asked him for suggestions on how to fix the feral cat problem.

Kirkendall said he and Baldwin were having a great conversation until he explained some options on how to get rid of the cats.

"He then told me to get the (expletive) off his property," Kirkendall explained. "So I left."

Sharon Dull took the stand with a similar story. Dull works with Crystal Creek Kennels and serves on the Tippecanoe County Animal Advisory Board.

Dull said she approached Baldwin at 52 Mobile Home Estates with informational flyers. She offered to help with the feral cat problem, free of charge.

She says Baldwin also told her to "Get the (expletive) off my property." Dull said she left immediately. 

The judge expressed her concerns with the several occasions Baldwin refused any help. 

Baldwin read a letter out loud to the court room, apologizing for his behavior. "I'm sorry," he began. Baldwin went on to explain he specifically wanted to apologize to the juvenile he convinced to drown the cat. "It's inexcusable," he said. 

The judge mentioned, "As a parent, I'd be spittin' mad if [the child involved] was mine." 

The name of the 17-year-old boy who filmed the video will not be released.

Baldwin was charged with five felonies in November last year. Before this, the 70-year-old had no criminal history.

Those charges are:

-Conspiracy to commit torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal

-Conspiracy to commit killing a domestic animal

-Torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal

-Killing a domestic animal

-Contributing to the delinquency of a minor

However, in Tuesday's hearing, the judge dropped two charges of conspiracy to commit torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal and torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal.

As a part of Baldwin's sentence, he cannot possess any animals and is ordered to surrender all firearms within 48 hours. He is also required to undergo a psychological evaluation and go through any recommended counseling.

Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 65°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 62°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 61°
Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 65°
Danville
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 63°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 61°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 61°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 62°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 62°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 63°
Mild Monday Before Snow And Freezing Conditions
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 708067

Reported Deaths: 13224
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion964881721
Lake51704945
Allen39185672
Hamilton34497405
St. Joseph34075540
Elkhart27306432
Vanderburgh22077394
Tippecanoe21818212
Porter17940299
Johnson17526374
Hendricks16803310
Clark12688190
Madison12350337
Vigo12211244
Monroe11462166
LaPorte11140204
Delaware10356184
Howard9662211
Kosciusko9127114
Hancock7979139
Bartholomew7888155
Warrick7684155
Floyd7560176
Wayne6899198
Grant6842171
Boone6552100
Morgan6395138
Dubois6084117
Marshall5783108
Dearborn570076
Cass5684102
Henry5577100
Noble542483
Jackson493269
Shelby479095
Lawrence4342118
Gibson428789
Harrison428170
Clinton419053
Montgomery417986
DeKalb410984
Whitley379639
Huntington379480
Miami372565
Knox366389
Steuben365257
Putnam352660
Jasper350546
Wabash347778
Adams337952
Ripley334668
Jefferson313180
White308354
Daviess289299
Wells286381
Decatur278992
Fayette277162
Greene270685
Posey268833
Scott261153
Clay253444
LaGrange253070
Randolph235680
Washington230931
Spencer227931
Jennings224747
Fountain208745
Sullivan207842
Starke204352
Owen192256
Fulton191739
Jay186129
Carroll185820
Perry180336
Orange177853
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130334
Pulaski113645
Newton103934
Brown100140
Crawford97614
Benton97113
Martin82815
Warren79615
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55811
Unassigned0409

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events