Man beats peacock he says was vampire

July 1, 2007 (AP / New York) -- A peacock that roamed into the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant was attacked by a man who vilified the bird as a vampire, animal-control authorities said.

Beaten so fiercely that most of his tail feathers fell out, the bird was euthanized, said Richard Gentles, a spokesman for the city's Center for Animal Care and Control.

"It's just unbelievable that someone would do something to a poor, defenseless animal and do it in such a cruel fashion," he said.

The peacock, a male several years old, wandered into a Burger King parking lot in the New York borough of Staten Island and perched on a car hood Thursday morning. Charmed employees were feeding him bread when the man appeared.

He seized the iridescent bird by the neck, hurled it to the ground and started kicking and stomping the creature, said worker Felicia Finnegan, 19.

"He was going crazy," she said.

Asked what he was doing, she said, the attacker explained, "'I'm killing a vampire!'"

Employees called police, but the man ran when he saw them. Authorities were looking for the attacker, described as in his teens or early 20s.

It was not clear how the bird made his way to the Burger King, but a Staten Island resident who raises peacocks said he had given some to a person who lives near the restaurant.


Doctor to gauge peacock 'vampire' slayer

July 07, 2007 (Frank Donnelly / Advance Staff Writer / Staten Island, N.Y.) -- A homeless man charged with fatally bludgeoning a peacock -- because he believed it was a vampire -- must undergo a psychiatric examination to determine his fitness for trial. Stapleton Criminal Court Judge Desmond Green yesterday ordered the test to determine whether John Potts, 32, currently understands the charges against him and can aid in his defense. Being found fit for trial does not necessarily rule out claims of mental illness when the incident occurred. Potts is accused of savagely attacking a peacock outside the Burger King at Page Avenue and Amboy Road in Tottenville on the morning of June 28. The defendant allegedly thought he was slaying a vampire that "came out of the darkness" even though the attack occurred in broad daylight. Potts, whose mother said he was a diagnosed schizophrenic, told cops he pummeled the animal to snuff out its "negative energy," a law enforcement source told the Advance. He remains held on $2,500 bail and was ordered back to court July 30, according to a spokesman for District Attorney Daniel Donovan. If found mentally unfit, Potts would be placed in a secure psychiatric facility and periodically re-evaluated to determine if he is eventually able to stand trial. If deemed fit, the case would proceed. The peacock incident set off a wild four days in which Potts was arrested for alleged trespass and marijuana possession and also had a run-in with his stepfather. In the latter incident, police say Potts went to the home of his stepfather and mother on Surfside Plaza in Tottenville Sunday evening and threatened the older man with a shovel. He then raced down Sprague Avenue and jumped into Raritan Bay, shovel in hand, yelling that he had the bubonic plague, according to his mother. Two days before, Potts was arrested for trespassing when he allegedly entered another Surfside property and damaged it. He spent the night in jail and subsequent to his release was issued a summons when allegedly caught with marijuana. Potts is charged with a felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals for the alleged avian assault, as well as misdemeanor counts of menacing, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal trespassing and criminal mischief stemming from the other incidents. If convicted at trial of the felony count, he could face up to four years in prison. Defense lawyer Richard Kopacz did not immediately return a telephone call yesterday seeking comment.

Alleged peacock killer found unfit for trial

August 14, 2007 (Staten Island Live / Frank Donnelly) -- Prosecutors yesterday confirmed a finding of mental unfitness for a homeless man charged with fatally bludgeoning a peacock in June in Tottenville -- because he believed it was a vampire. John Potts, 32, does not currently understand the charges against him and cannot aid in his own defense, the district attorney's office re-affirmed at a proceeding in Stapleton Criminal Court.

Fanged Films

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

Drawn to Vamps?

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