WARNING: This story is graphic in its description of the crime.

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A South Charleston man has changed his plea to a guilty plea on animal cruelty charges for decapitating a cat last year.

Kekel was charged of decapitating and dismembering a cat in July 2021 after animal body parts, including the cat’s head, were found in jars in his home during a welfare check. Kekel admitted in court on Aug. 8, 2022 that he gave the cat Benadryl to cause it to overdose before decapitating and dismembering it.

He originally pleaded not guilty to the charges in January 2022.

The court says Kekel is set to be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 11, 2022. The judge also ordered Kekel is not to be around or possess any animals.


ORIGINAL STORY: A man in South Charleston is facing animal cruelty charges.

On July 20, 2021, South Charleston Police responded to a welfare check on the 1200 block of E Village Drive in South Charleston after a phone call request from the defendant’s sister.

Officers met the defendant, 20-year-old Gabriel Kekel outside his residence. The defendant told officers that he had overdosed his cat and then decapitated it and dismembered its body.

Kekel led officers to the attic of his home where three jars containing animal body parts were found. One of the jars contained the previously-mention cat’s head, which the defendant said he removed with a machete.

The crime of cruelty to animals is defined as a person who intentionally tortures, mutilates or maliciously kills an animal, or causes, procures or authorizes any other person to torture, mutilate or maliciously kill an animal. It is a felony, and it could mean up to five years in prison and up to $5,000.