Ex-Mets baseball player Joseph Petcka was lucky to have one fellow cat-hater to hang his jury. On September 26, the judge declared a mistrial in Petcka’s brutal beating death of Norman, a long-haired orange tabby. Petcka appeared on The Today Show this morning looking for sympathy.
Petcka, now a bit-part actor and waiter, had been dating Lisa Altobelli about six weeks, but apparently never impressed her 8-year-old cat, Norman (with good reason, as Norman would fatally learn).
On March 27, 2007, a drunken Petcka argued and got physical with Altobelli, so she left her apartment to give him a chance to cool down, leaving Norman alone with him.
Petcka claimed on the stand that 7-pound declawed Norman lunged at and bit him several times, knocking his 205-lb. butt onto a coffee table. Petcka admitted kicking at the cat with steel-toed boots, but didn’t know if the blows landed and that Norman seemed fine later.
An ASPCA vet testified that Norman died in agony, probably surviving up to 15 minutes after the attack. He had chipped teeth and a torn tongue, as if his head had been whacked against a countertop. He also had 3 broken ribs, a ripped lung and liver, and died when blood filled his chest cavity.
Norman managed to crawl to his favorite hiding spot under Altobelli’s bedside table to die, where she later found him.
Some 32-year-old moron on the jury who lives in a building prohibiting pets didn’t think this was enough to convict Petcka, who could have gotten 2 years in jail for felony aggravated animal cruelty.
They haven’t decided yet whether to retry the case. In the meantime, Petcka roams free, enjoying his 15 minutes of infamy. Here’s hoping Petcka encounters some street-smart, hungry NY ferals in a dark alley real soon who will show him how justice works – feline-style – for Norman.