Belpre man facing multiple charges in domestic violence incident
In what was called a “heartbreaking” and “gruesome” act, a Belpre man was arrested Jan. 14 for the felony cruelty to animals for decapitating the family cat.
Nicholas John Huffman, 41, of Veto Road, Belpre, was also charged with disrupting public service, also a felony, as well as domestic violence and unlawful restraint, both misdemeanors.
According to Washington County Sheriff’s Office reports, deputies were dispatched to 1750 Strahler Road, Waterford, in response to a woman reporting her husband was not acting right and he had chased her with a hammer.
She told deputies he had been acting odd since the night before. He allegedly said the electronics in the home were possessed and reportedly smashed his laptop and phones with a hammer in their garage. He allegedly also took and smashed her phone.
She said she confronted him about breaking her phone, and he reportedly chased her inside the house with the hammer. While she was running, she tripped on a bed frame, injuring her left calf.
Huffman allegedly said he would kill their 2-year-old son, as he was a demon.
The report said the incident went on for hours with Huffman changing statements from he was going to kill the son to his wife should kill the son, Nicholas, and then herself.
The deputy reported the situation escalated to Nicholas strangling the family cat and decapitating it with his bare hands, as he said it was possessed by demons.
Sgt. Kelly McGilton, the county dog warden, was one of the officers who responded to the call.
“This is the definition of disturbing. He was a working person and held a full-time job and had no known mental issues,” she explained. “You would not expect this out of him.”
She said she’s never seen anything like what happened to the animal.
“That would have been traumatic for anyone to see,” McGilton explained. “I believe he made her hold the cat while he was twisting its head off at one point.”
When his wife tried to leave or would not do what he wanted, he reportedly would approach her aggressively and start making growling-type noises.
He allegedly held her on their bed and strangled her at one point and she had to kick him multiple times to get away from him.
It was reported that during one of his calmer moments, she asked him to clean the blood from the cat off his arm. He took a bath and fell asleep and she finally escaped with their two children. The 2-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter were not directly present during the events.
“The little girl woke up and could hear what was going on,” McGilton said. “I don’t think she saw anything.”
She added they referred the family to Children Services.
Deputies went to the home to speak to Huffman. They read him his Miranda Rights and took him into custody.
He was asked if he killed the family’s cat and he reportedly said “it attacked me and I ripped its head off.” He admitted decapitating the cat using his bare hands.
When asked about the phones, he said they were causing distance in the relationship, and when questioned about the night’s events, he said he was possessed and didn’t want to talk about it.
The cat was found in the kitchen garbage and its head appeared to have been twisted from its body.
“It was put in a white kitchen trash bag and thrown into the kitchen garbage,” McGilton noted. “It was apparent he had twisted its head off. You could see where he had used his bare hands. It would take an unbelievable fit of rage to do that and keep doing it.”
She added he had some significant scratches on both arms “where the cat tried to fight for his life.”
McGilton said the wife filed for a temporary restraining order, but never went to court to get it.
“They talked on the phone while he was in jail,” she remarked, adding the wife bonded him out of jail. “She did make the stipulation that he had to go to a mental health facility after release from jail.”
She said the case was “just sad.”
“This is so heartbreaking. It painted a very gruesome picture,” McGilton said. “I’ve never seen anything like that even in a horror movie.”