ATHENS, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Kristen Williams and her fiance love animals - they've got three cats. On Christmas Eve, they stepped outside and saw something terrible happen across the road. Their neighbor, Dejion Roberson - who they call DJ - walked up to a cat sitting by a tree in his yard.
"He picked up the cat by its neck and just kicked it - kicked it up in the air," said Williams.
Williams said the kitten hit the power line and then fell onto the ground. She said she rushed over to try to save it.
"I had the cat in my hand and I tried to position her head to you know, where she could get comfortable. She twitched twice, and she finally curled her head up - perched it up on my arm. We went across the street to wait for the police. She twitched one more time and then she was gone," said Williams.
Roberson took off in a van - his uncle, Stephen Cummings, told officers Roberson was 17 years old, and said the cat ran inside his house and pounced on a small child, so Roberson was simply defending the family. But when officers caught up with Roberson, they learned he's actually 20 - and that the cat was no where near the child when he killed it. Roberson faces aggravated animal cruelty.
"Well if a person would do that to an animal, what would they do to a human? Probably the same or worse," said Bill Galliher, a neighbor.
Williams said this isn't the first time her neighbors have had trouble with animals. McMinn County Animal Control said it picked up one of their dogs the day before Christmas Eve because it was running loose - so far, Roberson's family hasn't claimed it. Williams said she rescued one of their puppies early Thursday morning. She said it was hungry and stuck in a neighbor's fence.
"I will make sure that he gets the maximum. Because he had no sense of remorse when he did what he did," said Williams.
Roberson is still in jail under $1,000 bond. He's due in court next Thursday, and also faces a violation of probation charge out of Marion County.
Roberson's uncle declined to comment on Friday.
Police say they've arrested a suspect, Dejion Marquel Roberson, also known as "D.J.," on charges of aggravated animal cruelty.
Police say Roberson has an active warrant in Marion County for probation violation.