A preliminary hearing for a Leavenworth man facing a felony animal cruelty charge was interrupted Wednesday when the defendant made an outburst.

A preliminary hearing for a Leavenworth man facing a felony animal cruelty charge was interrupted Wednesday when the defendant made an outburst.

Lemuel D. Hunter Jr., 57, was found to be in contempt of court and taken into custody.

District Judge Gunnar Sundby said he will resume the preliminary hearing April 6.

Sundby said he intends for Hunter to remain in jail until the April 6 hearing. But if Hunter writes a letter of apology and indicates he will respect the court and listen to the advice of his attorney, the judge said he will take this into consideration.

Hunter is charged in Leavenworth County District Court for allegedly abusing a dog Feb. 19 in Leavenworth.

He was free on bond when Wednesday’s preliminary hearing began.

The hearing started with testimony from Hunter’s wife, Terrie.

Terrie Hunter called police Feb. 19, which led to the charge against the defendant.

Terrie Hunter said she called 911 because she was concerned about her dog, a 3-year-old beagle and corgi mix named Gracie.

Terrie Hunter testified Wednesday that she had been mistaken when she told authorities Feb. 19 that she thought her husband was burning the dog with a propane torch while the animal was inside a kennel.

Terrie Hunter testified that she did see her husband with a lit propane torch.

“He had it in his hand close to the cage,” she said.

Terrie Hunter also testified that the dog later had some singed whiskers.

Assistant County Attorney Michael Jones provided Terrie Hunter with a copy of a statement she wrote for the police.

She said the statement refreshed her memory a little but some of what happened was “really foggy.”

Reading through the statement in court, Terrie Hunter testified she told a police officer that she thought she saw her husband taunt the dog with the torch and advance into the cage.

Terrie Hunter acknowledged writing the statement.

“But I also have been on medications too,” she said.

Terrie Hunter, an Army veteran, said she takes 18 medications and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

While Terrie Hunter was being cross examined by her husband’s attorney, Lemuel Hunter stood up and suggested that an officer from the Leavenworth County Jail place him in handcuffs.

Lemuel Hunter said the case was “smoke and mirrors.”

“I fought wars on three different continents,” said Lemuel Hunter, who also is an Army veteran.

Lemuel Hunter said his wife had tried to contact Jones.

“He’s never answered the phone,” Lemuel Hunter said.

Sundby said Lemuel Hunter was guilty of contempt.

Sundby said the defendant was told not to speak, but he continued to speak. The judge said the defendant also had used inappropriate language.

The judge initially said the preliminary hearing would resume Friday. But Lemuel Hunter’s attorney, Benjamin Casad, said he would not be available that day.

Sundby said the hearing will resume April 6.

The dog remains in the care of Leavenworth Animal Control.

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