Archive for Thursday, April 15, 2004

Trial date is set for McKinney

April 15, 2004

By Jeff Myrick

Baldwin City Signal Editor

A trial date of May 13 has been set for Terry McKinney, utility director for Baldwin City, who has been charged with discharging a BB gun in the city limits and cruelty to animals related to the alleged shooting of a neighbor's cat in October.

McKinney's first appearance in the Baldwin Municipal Court was Thursday, where the May 13 trial date was set for the charges, which are both misdemeanors. He has hired Bob Bezek, former city attorney, to represent him.

"I have the pleasure of representing Mr. McKinney," said Bezek. "I think he's trying to represent his interests the best he can and that's what I'm doing.

"I'm not so sure a crime was committed," he said. "I think you would agree that he has the right to defend himself."

The charges resulted from Baldwin resident Teja Curry filing a report with the Baldwin City Police Department on March 1. She alleged that her FireTree Estates neighbor, McKinney, shot her 14-year-old cat, Cloud Dancer, which had disappeared last fall. Curry said someone had recently told her that McKinney had allegedly told some people he had shot Cloud Dancer when it was on his property.

Police Chief Mike McKenna investigated the report and interviewed McKinney. City Administrator Jeff Dingman also set in on the interview, which was taped. Dingman has said no disciplinary action has been taken against McKinney and is awaiting the court's decision.

"I would say there is a taped conversation, but I wouldn't say it's a confession," said Bezek. "I wouldn't say the statement stands as what I would call a confession."

He also questioned Dingman's participation in the interview of McKinney.

"Since when does a city administrator get involved in a criminal investigation?" said Bezek.

The case has brought wide-spread interest, including segments on several Kansas City television stations.

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