Man who killed ex-girlfriend’s cat sentenced to six months in jail |

Man who killed ex-girlfriend’s cat sentenced to six months in jail

William Ferchland
Christian Beach

A man who killed and charred his ex-girlfriend’s cat was given six months in jail and four years probation, with a condition he doesn’t own pets during those four years.

Christian Dale Beach, 36, sat at the defense table with his head bowed. Thursday was his sentencing at El Dorado County Superior Court on a felony animal cruelty charge he pleaded guilty to last month.

Handcuffed and in the customary orange jail jumpsuit, he expressed sorrow and apologized for the Valentine’s Day killing of Bobbyy, an orange tabby once scarred in the Southern California wildfires.

“I just lost my mind that day,” he said. “It’s not like me to do such a thing.”

Last month Beach and his ex-girlfriend, Tracy Barker, got into repeated arguments at their Strawberry home while Barker was attempting to remove her clothes and cat from the residence.

Barker was told by Beach that he placed the cat in the pound when she couldn’t find the feline.

After a fruitless check at the El Dorado County Animal Shelter, Barker and her friends returned to the Strawberry house where Barker apparently broke the cat’s neck and slammed Bobbyy to the ground in front of the group.

Afterward, Beach took the cat to the fireplace and burnt its body with a blowtorch.

Throughout the sentencing, attorneys and Judge Jerald Lasarow repeatedly said they hadn’t experienced an animal cruelty case like it. Public Defender Rick Meyer agreed what his client did was horrible – even saying “it displays a callousness we can’t ignore” – but adhered to a plea agreement between his office and prosecutors that settled on 90 days in jail for Beach.

Deputy District Attorney Lisa Serafini, who was not present during the plea agreement, wanted to argue for more time in jail for Beach. While he did not learn of the blowtorch details until Thursday, Lasarow said he was leaning toward giving more time than the 90 days in jail.

The judge offered Beach to withdrawal his plea if he didn’t want to be incarcerated for more than three months.

After some discussion and a date scheduled to review the transcript of the plea deal, Beach said he would serve the six months Lasarow indicated he might hand down.

“He feels he deserves that,” Meyer said.

In addition to the time in jail and four years of probation, Beach will undergo a 52-week anger management course and undergo a psychiatric evaluation. He was also ordered not to contact Barker and to pay fees.

“I am looking forward to reading the psychiatric evaluation,” Serafini said. “Hopefully it will provide direction to make sure this doesn’t occur again.”

Barker was not present at court but wrote a letter describing the day and her loss. In the letter she stated how she cries daily, waived a semester in college because she couldn’t concentrate and finds solace at Bobbyy’s grave site in Southern California.

“As much as I’ve tried to forget and leave it in the hands of the law, I think of it every day,” she wrote. “It sickens me and I cry every day.”

A few days after her cat’s murder, Barker enlisted the help of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Kristin DeJournett, a cruelty case worker in the organization’s Domestic Animal and Wildlife Rescue and Information, also wrote the court.

In her letter, DeJournett said authorities concentrate on animal cruelty cases because it indicates behavioral problems that could lead to more heinous crimes.

Beach was given a May 19 court date to review his progress in jail.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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