Farmer pleads guilty to dumping bloody animal corpses on neighbor's grave while disguised as a woman

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Farmer pleads guilty to dumping bloody animal corpses on neighbor's grave while disguised as a woman

An Arkansas farmer, 79, has been given a one-year suspended sentence after being caught on camera dumping bloody animal corpses on his neighbor's g

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An Arkansas farmer, 79, has been given a one-year suspended sentence after being caught on camera dumping bloody animal corpses on his neighbor’s grave while dressed in a woman’s wig, coat and sunglasses.

Joseph Stroud pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor for repeatedly placing dead animals on Fred McKinney’s gravestone in the Pea Ridge Cemetery, Bentonville.

Stroud was first arrested back in August when he was spotted on surveillance camera sneaking into the cemetery in a grey wig, dark sunglasses and teal and white women’s windbreaker jacket and leaving animals including dead possums on the grave. 

McKinney lived on a neighboring farm to Stroud until his death aged 94 in August 2015 and, according to McKinney’s granddaughter, the two men ‘never got along with each other.’ 

Stroud, who has been diagnosed with vascular dementia, told the court he left the animal carcasses on the gravestone as a tribute because McKinney ‘enjoyed animals.’  

An Arkansas farmer, 79, has been given a one-year suspended sentence after being caught on camera dumping bloody animal corpses on his neighbor's grave while dressed in a woman's wig, coat and sunglasses. Pictured Joseph Stroud (left and in his disguise right)

An Arkansas farmer, 79, has been given a one-year suspended sentence after being caught on camera dumping bloody animal corpses on his neighbor’s grave while dressed in a woman’s wig, coat and sunglasses. Pictured Joseph Stroud (left and in his disguise right)

Joseph Stroud pleaded guilty Monday to one misdemeanor charge of defacing objects of public respect, for repeatedly placing dead animals on Fred McKinney's gravestone in the Pea Ridge Cemetery, Bentonville. Pictured an animal carcass left on the grave

Joseph Stroud pleaded guilty Monday to one misdemeanor charge of defacing objects of public respect, for repeatedly placing dead animals on Fred McKinney’s gravestone in the Pea Ridge Cemetery, Bentonville. Pictured an animal carcass left on the grave 

The 79-year-old was initially slapped with a more serous felony charge of defacing objects of public respect but agreed to the lesser charge in a plea deal.

He was given a one-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay $2,529 to the victim’s family within 30 days.

He was also ordered to hand over his driver’s license because of his dementia diagnosis. 

Stroud confessed to leaving the dead animals on McKinney’s gravestone between May 31 and July 31 2020. 

He claimed he left the animals on his old neighbor’s behalf because he thought there was more ‘beauty’ in the carcasses than in ‘flowers and stuff’. 

‘I done it for his behalf to show him the animals were still here and everything like that,’ he told Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green, according to Arkansas Online. 

‘He just enjoyed animals and that there was more of a … a beauty than flowers and stuff.’

He also claimed he disguised himself while leaving the animals to ‘agitate’ and ‘upset’ the people he said were ‘following me around.’ 

‘It was to agitate the people looking at me and following me around. I done it to upset them because my car was there and my license tag was there, and they knew it was me,’ he told the court. 

McKinney (pictured) lived on a neighboring farm to Stroud until his death aged 94 in August 2015 and, according to McKinney's granddaughter, the two men 'never got along with each other'

McKinney (pictured) lived on a neighboring farm to Stroud until his death aged 94 in August 2015 and, according to McKinney’s granddaughter, the two men ‘never got along with each other’

‘I done it just to agitate them because I knew they were checking on me and stuff.’

Stroud’s lawyer Alison Lee argued he has dementia and is seeking follow-up treatment with medical professionals.

Lee also said Stroud understood what he had done was wrong and wanted to compensate the victim’d family so they can replace the headstone. 

Prosecutors said Stroud had caused around $2,500 worth of damage to the gravestone because the blood of one of the animals had permanently stained it. 

‘They will have to replace the headstone because of the blood and guts. It’s permanently stained,’ said deputy prosecutor Tyler Hawkins. 

Hawkins said McKinney’s family was in favor of the plea deal and said the deal was being offered because Stroud’s judgment could have been impaired by his dementia diagnosis. 

Stroud’s wife is also buried at the same cemetery.

The judge ruled that he can only visit her grave if he is accompanied by one of his family members.   

The saga unfolded last year when McKinney’s granddaughter Shannon Nobles started finding dead animals on his grave back in May.

Stroud was first arrested back in August (pictured in his mug) when he was spotted on surveillance camera sneaking into the cemetery in a grey wig, dark sunglasses and teal and white women's windbreaker jacket and leaving animals including dead possums on the grave

Stroud was first arrested back in August (pictured in his mug) when he was spotted on surveillance camera sneaking into the cemetery in a grey wig, dark sunglasses and teal and white women’s windbreaker jacket and leaving animals including dead possums on the grave

They initially assumed the animals had just died from poisoning after eating fake flowers left in the cemetery and removed the flowers. 

When the dead animals continued appearing, McKinney’s family set up a surveillance camera to catch the perpetrator in the act. 

The camera captured Stroud dressed in a teal and white woman’s jacket, dark sunglasses and a grey woman’s wig carrying a dead animal in his hand and then leaving it on the gravestone before walking back to his gray Dodge Journey, the affidavit states.

Nobles said she also saw Stroud driving away from the cemetery while she was jogging, it states.

When she went over to her grandfather’s grave she found a dead possum and eight live baby possums inside one of the flower vases.

She reported the incident to the police in July.  

She told cops her grandfather and Stroud had never gotten on and had been involved in a lawsuit with one another.

It is not clear what the suit was about but Nobles said she believes Stroud lost. 

Stroud was arrested on August 10 and charged with defacing objects of public respect.

Police found a bath towel with blood stains in the backseat of his gray Dodge Journey. 

Prosecutors were also looking to file animal cruelty charges against Stroud over the baby possums, but did not have enough proof, reported Arkansas Online. 

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