79-Year-Old Man Arrested for Leaving Dead Animals on Neighbor’s Grave While Disguised as a Woman

Via WGN Radio

This recent news story out of Arkansas is literally Psycho. A man has pled guilty to leaving more than a dozen dead animals on his old neighbor’s gravestone. That’s creepy enough. But what’s more, 79-year-old Joseph Alan Stroud committed these crimes à la Norman Bates: disguised in a grey woman’s wig.

The Eerie Crime

Via Daily Mail

Joseph Stroud, an elderly farmer living in Bentonville, Arkansas, was arrested last August for leaving animal corpses on the headstone of his former neighbor Fred Allen McKinney. Stroud was charged with defacing objects of public respect and pleaded guilty Monday, February 8.

Fred McKinney’s gravesite was vandalized throughout last summer. In response, his family set up surveillance cameras inside the Pea Ridge cemetery. According to the affidavit, these captured photos of someone in sunglasses, a grey woman’s wig, overalls, and a teal and white woman’s jacket, or windbreaker.

Fred McKinney’s granddaughter Shannon Nobles was the first to suspect Stroud was the culprit behind this gender-bending ruse. While Nobles was out on a jog, she noticed Stroud pulling away from the cemetery in his own gray Dodge Journey. Immediately after, left on her grandfather’s grave, there was a dead possum. And a flower vase full of eight live baby possums!

In accepting the plea deal, Joseph Stroud’s crime has been reduced from a Class B felony to a misdemeanor. Stroud also must pay $2500 in damages, which will be used by Fred McKinney’s family to replace the grave. Deputy prosecutor Tyler Hawkins said the current tombstone has been permanently stained by blood and guts.

A Possible Motive?

At Joseph Stroud’s most recent court hearing, Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green pressed him on why she should accept his plea agreement. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Stroud told her: “I done it for [Fred’s] behalf to show him the animals were still here and everything like that,” he said. “He just enjoyed animals and that there was more of a … a beauty than flowers and stuff.”

This seems unlikely considering that Shannon Nobles said her grandfather and Stroud “never got along with each other.” Judge Green also seemed unconvinced, as she further questioned Stroud about why he would then wear a disguise. His response was somewhat indirect, saying, “It was to agitate the people looking at me and following me around.”

Regardless, the plea deal was accepted on the condition that Stroud surrendered his driver’s license. This seems in line with new findings: Stroud’s lawyer Alison Lee’s reported to the court that a neurologist confirmed Stroud has vascular dementia after examining him. Lee also said, “This is one of the most unusual cases I’ve had since I’ve been doing this.”

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