Case Snapshot
Case ID: 15528
Classification: Burning - Fire or Fireworks
Animal: cat
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Abuse was retaliation against animal's bad behavior
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Prosecutor(s): Robert T. Johnson

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

County: Bronx

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 1 files available

» Cheyenne Cherry
» abuser name unreleased Juvenile

Case Updates: 5 update(s) available

A Bronx teenager has been accused of putting a kitten into an oven and then burning it alive in what authorities say may have been an act of revenge.

Cheyenne Cherry, 17, of the Bronx was arrested in connection with the kitten's death and was charged with arson, burglary, criminal trespass and felony aggravated animal cruelty. She was released into her mother's care.

ASPCA official Joe Pentangelo says the animal suffered "an agonizing death.'' Authorities said Thursday the kitten, named Tiger Lily, belonged to Valerie Hernandez, 19, the teen's ex-roommate.

Cherry and an accomplice left the apartment, at 721 Tinton Avenue in the Bronx, as the cat cried and scratched at the oven door, Pentangelo said.

Cherry was arrested Wednesday [June 3, 2009] in connection with the May 6 incident. Published reports indicated that Cherry confessed to the crime and allegedly told investigators "I hate cats."

Cherry's unidentified accomplice has not been charged.

Case Updates

A 17-year-old New York girl has agreed to spend two years in jail for helping kill a friend's cat by roasting the animal alive inside an oven.

Cheyenne Cherry said in court Wednesday she understands the ramifications of her plea bargain deal with prosecutors that involves two years in jail and three years of post-release supervision, The New York Daily News reported Thursday.

Cherry, whose official sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 21, would also be banned from owning a pet for three years following her release and would be required to permanently stay away from Valerie Hernandez.

Cherry and a 14-year-old accomplice, whose identity was not released, broke into Hernandez's apartment on May 6 and put the woman's cat inside an oven heated to 500 degrees.

In July, Cherry pleaded guilty to charges of attempted burglary and animal cruelty in Bronx Supreme Court.

The Daily News said Cherry's accomplice, who was the individual who placed the cat inside the oven, was sentenced to 18 months in juvenile jail in August.
Source: United Press International - Dec 3, 2009
Update posted on Dec 14, 2009 - 4:20PM 
A 14-year-old has pleaded guilty to burglary and animal cruelty for killing a kitten in a 500-degree oven.

The New York City Law Department says the girl will spend 18 months in juvenile jail for the May 6 death of the kitten, named Tiger Lily.

Authorities say she and a friend ransacked a Bronx apartment before putting the animal in the oven, where it cried and scratched before dying.

The friend, 17-year-old Cheyenne Cherry, pleaded guilty last month to animal cruelty and attempted burglary. She is expected to get a year in jail when she's sentenced on Sept. 2.
Source: Associated Press - Aug 11, 2009
Update posted on Aug 13, 2009 - 3:45PM 
A New York City teenager has admitted that she didn't let a kitten out of an oven after a friend put the animal inside and left it to roast to death.

After pleading guilty to charges of animal cruelty and attempted burglary on Wednesday, 17-year-old Cheyenne Cherry confronted a row of animal activists outside the courtroom.

Cherry stuck out her tongue and told the activists that the kitten named Tiger Lily was "dead."

Authorities say Cherry and a 14-year-old friend ransacked a Bronx apartment before putting the cat in the oven, where it cried and scratched before dying.

The 14-year-old was charged with aggravated animal cruelty and burglary in the May 6 incident.

Cherry will serve a year in jail under a plea bargain.
Source: WCAX - July 16, 2009
Update posted on Jul 16, 2009 - 9:54AM 
Please consider sending a letter to the following authorities, requesting that Cherry is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that she is sentenced to mandatory psychological counseling and jail time if she is convicted.

Robert T. Johnson, Bronx District Attorney
The Office of the Bronx County District Attorney
198 East 161st Street; Bronx, NY 10451
ph: 718-590-2000, 718-590-2312; fax: 718-590-2198

Steven Reed, Director of Public Information
The Office of the Bronx County District Attorney
198 East 161st Street; Bronx, NY 10451
ph: 718-590-2235, 718-590-2234

Joe McCormack, Assistant District Attorney
Bronx County District Attorney's Office
198 East 161st Street; Bronx, New York 10451
ph: 718-590-2000, 718-590-2026; fax: 718-781-1129

Nancy Borko, Senior Assistant District Attorney
Bronx District Attorney's Office
215 East 161st Street; Bronx, NY 10451-3511
ph: 718-838-7114

Maria T. Rivero, Administrative Assistant District Attorney

Anthony Girese, Counsel to the District Attorney
Bronx County District Attorney's Office
198 East 161st Street; Bronx, New York 10451
ph: 718-590-2175; fax: 718-992-0545

Judge Dennis J. Boyle
G Correspondence Clerk
Bronx Supreme Court Criminal Division
851 Grand Concourse, Room 123
Bronx, NY 10451

The animal welfare organization Kinship Circle has provided the following sample letter for reference. We strongly encourage modifying this letter to include your own thoughts and feelings, as opposed to simply copying and pasting, as it loses some impact when a prosecutor receives hundreds of the exact same letter.

The Office of the Bronx County District Attorney:

Thank you for recognizing public concern in the case of Tiger Lily, a kitten scorched alive inside an oven on May 6, 2009. I understand Cheyenne Cherry, 17, is charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty, burglary, arson, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.

I respectfully ask for your utmost deliberation in the investigation of Cherry and her accomplice, who allegedly broke into ex-roommate Valerie Hernandez's home and trapped Tiger Lily inside an activated stove. Apparently, they ransacked the apartment and raised the stove's heat before fleeing with stolen items. The girls never heard Tiger Lily's last screams and scratches against the oven door.

Please seek maximum adult incarceration of two years for felony animal cruelty. Cherry also faces possible jail terms of 15 years for second-degree burglary, one year for arson, and four years for criminal mischief. I urge you to hold both teens accountable. Both require psychological evaluation and therapy. Both should be barred from possessing or working with animals.

At the very least, they ought to be interned in a juvenile detention hall until age 18 (if applicable). Then, reassessment of the girls' personality traits can determine if adult imprisonment is necessary.

Adolescents who commit brutal crimes against humans usually begin with animals. Columbine shooter Eric Harris, 18, smashed mice with a crowbar and set them on fire. Washington D.C. serial killer Lee Boyd Malvo killed stray cats with a slingshot. Kip Kinkle blew up a cow and burned a live cat. He then shot 25 classmates and murdered his parents in Springfield, Oregon. After Luke Woodham, 16, mortally stabbed his mother and shot nine others, he confessed to bludgeoning his dog with baseball bats and setting her on fire.

These murderers, like Cherry, were able to torture and kill without remorse. Indeed, the intentional burning of an animal is a "particularly significant predictor of violent and even homicidal behavior," says Dr. Randall Lockwood of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Initiatives and a frequent consultant for cruelty investigators, law enforcers and mental health professionals.

Cherry "thought we would play a joke on Valerie." But she and her friend are not guilty of warped humor or bad choices. Roasting a defenseless kitten is the calculated action of a sociopath and a predator.

Thank you for prosecuting Cherry and her accomplice to the fullest degree allowed by law.


-- Your Name --
Update posted on Jun 11, 2009 - 3:33PM 
The teen accused in a Bronx kitty killing was busted last year in the armed dog-napping of a teacup Yorkie, police said.

Cheyenne Cherry's boyfriend snatched the pooch from a woman in a Bronx park last June after holding a BB gun to her forehead, police said.

Days later, Cherry, 17, had the nerve to send friends to show up with the dog when a $500 reward was posted, the pooch's owner said. "She's evil," Johan Castro, 23, said.

Despite her June 2008 arrest for larceny and extortion, along with two other busts, Cherry was released without bail after being charged with letting a friend's kitten die inside a 200-degree oven.

"They wonder why this little girl doesn't learn right from wrong," Castro said. "If she's willing to kill a cat and steal my dog, what else will she do? She thinks she can beat the system."

Cherry said little Tiger Lily was killed during "a practical joke" - the same excuse she gave for shoving a gun in the robbery victim's face last year, cops said.

"It was just a joke," Cherry said after her arrest for robbing a man of his iPod at gunpoint. She pleaded guilty to robbery and got five years probation.

Cherry also had a 2007 arrest for smacking a girl in the head with jewelry, police said.

Cherry, now charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, arson, burglary and criminal mischief, is a dog owner who loves pets, her brother insisted.

"My sister is no cat killer," said David Cherry. "Cheyenne is not an animal hater. She has a little Yorkie that she loves."

In a cruel twist to the case, a Brooklyn retiree who shares a last name with Cherry is getting threats after someone mistakenly listed her number on a Web posting about the cat slaying.

"They're all saying, 'You'll burn in hell,' 'Who the hell do you think you are?'" Bernadette Cherry, 72, said of the 75 calls from cat lovers.
Source: NY Daily News - June 5, 2009
Update posted on Jun 6, 2009 - 10:31PM 


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