QUINCY — A St. Louis man was sentenced to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to throwing a cat against a wall in 2018, recording it and sending the video to his wife.
Trevor Moncrief, 35, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals. He was living in Quincy when the incident happened on June 25, 2018. One charge of animal torture and misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals and depicting animal cruelty were dropped when Monrcrief pleaded guilty in October. He will receive credit for 139 days already served in the Adams County Jail.
“There are some things that when you see them, you can’t unsee them,” Josh Jones, lead trial attorney with the Adams County State’s Attorney’s office, said in describing the incident during Monday’s sentencing.
Jones presented two videos during the sentencing. The first showed Moncrief throwing a cat that belonged to his wife, Erykah, against a wall. He later sent the video to his wife, who forwarded it to police.
Jones played the video on his laptop for Judge Bob Adrian to watch. Also watching the video from the witness stand was Moncrief, who bowed his head and closed his eyes as he heard himself say in the video the cat was going to “drown in its own blood, bitch.”
A second video, taken by a Quincy police officer, showed the condition of the cat, which later was euthanized.
Moncrief: Watching video in court was ’embarrassing’
Moncrief testified he has a full-time job for a demolition company while helping raise two children. He recently was offered a job at $26 an hour to deliver fresh produce for a wholesale food supplier. He also explained he’s trying to obtain a divorce from his wife.
After spending time in prison twice as a young adult, Moncrief said he returned to his old life.
“I got out of prison and went back to the same people, the same area, the same everything,” he said. “I didn’t try anything different.”
He said watching the video in court was “embarrassing.”
“I used to be real confused with life and didn’t know what to do,” Moncrief said. “I made a mistake. I made an honest mistake. I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t know how to handle being married. I didn’t know to handle being an adult.
“I’ve never had people in a courtroom for me like my mom and dad today. I know I’m trying. I go to work every day, and I come home, and it’s hard. I’ve made a conscious effort to try to be a better person. The person you see in that video isn’t who I am right now. I take care of my (8-month-old) baby, and I’m very active with my (oldest) daughter’s life right now.”
Moncrief’s mom says he’s ‘in a good place’
Three witnesses spoke on Moncrief’s behalf.
Michael Harvey, a friend for 15 years, testified he attends church with Moncrief at New Golden Star, a Baptist church in St. Louis. He said Moncrief mentors several kids at the church when they attend services twice a week.
“He’s explained his situation with the kids, and he’s getting them on the right track,” Harvey said. “He wasn’t in his right mind (when he committed the crime), and he’s remorse(ful) for everything that he’s doing. He found another way of trying to better himself by going to church.”
Harvey said he wouldn’t have his job at Amazon without Moncrief’s help.
Moncrief’s mother, Patricia, testified about raising her son as a single parent in St. Louis while working and continuing her education. She eventually earned her doctorate in education and now is the CEO of Serenity Estates, a home healthcare company. She said her son was “difficult with me at home as a teenager” and eventually was diagnosed with ADHD and other learning disabilities.
Patricia testified she maintains a close relationship with her son, who was working as a dishwasher at a Quincy restaurant when he got married in 2017. She said she later learned his wife was addicted to methamphetamine.
She said she has seen a “tremendous” change in her son since the incident.
“One reason why he started back to going to church when he got back to St. Louis is because of what happened here with his estranged wife,” she said. “He just started crying and telling me, ‘Mom, I did something really stupid. I am so sorry.’ He’s turned his life over to the Lord, and that’s where he is right now. He’s in a very good place.”
Jones called Moncrief’s actions ‘premeditated’
Davis Bolton, a retired corrections officer in Marion County (Mo.) now living in Quincy, testified that Moncrief, his stepson, lived with him when he left St. Louis. He says he still sees Moncrief and his 8-month-old daughter twice a month.
“He’s not the same person. He’s different,” Bolton said. “I know my prayers have been answered, because he’s a different man now. I mean, I can’t put my finger on it, but I know in my heart Trevor is a different man. He’s a good man.”
Jones said he’s been prosecuting all sorts of heinous cases for nearly 20 years.
“I’ve seen a lot of stuff that I don’t want to bring home,” he said. “I see a lot of stuff that I don’t share with people. They affect you for a long time. The videos the court saw are those types of things. To see a person do what the defendant did to that kitten, to throw it hard enough against the wall where you saw it bounce off the wall, and to see the ramifications of the sound. The visual of it is something that any person who watches it is going to be troubled by for a long time.”
Jones called Moncrief’s actions “premeditated” because he shot video of the incident, then sent it to his wife. He asked for a six-year sentence.
“I don’t care what kind of wife she was,” Jones said. “I don’t care what kind of emotional trauma she caused you, and I don’t care what kind of drugs she did. You don’t do that to another human being.”
Moncrief mouthed, “Thank you. I love you,” to his parents
Defense attorney Jerry Timmerwilke asked for probation.
“I don’t think that this is a case where prison will serve him,” he said. “He’s already taken some steps to modify his lifestyle and show how to get out and live in society.”
Before his sentencing, Moncrief told Adrian he’s “been losing” his whole life.
“For the first time, I’d like to actually do a positive thing,” he said. “For the first time, I’m financially able to provide a proper Christmas for my children. I’m truly a different person. I want to take full responsibility for the crime. I can’t blame others.”
While acknowledging Moncrief’s recent job history and involvement with his church, Adrian said he remains responsible for his crime.
“Not a person in this room doesn’t want you to turn your life around, but there is a crime committed here,” Adrian said. “Regardless of all the good things you’ve done here with your past record, you deserve punishment. I’m not saying this is going to help you, because it’s not. I hope it doesn’t discourage you.”
After he was cuffed by the bailiff, Moncrief mouthed the words, “Thank you. I love you,” to his parents in the back of the courtroom.