Kitten abuser sentenced

Published 10:49 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This kitten was severely beaten last year and later died as a result of its injuries. The 13-year-old abuser was sentenced in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Tuesday.

Calling the crime “awful and despicable,” a juvenile court judge sentenced a 13-year-old animal abuser to supervised probation, a mentoring program, therapy and a suspended sentence of 30 days in juvenile detention.

The boy was found guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty for beating a kitten to death last May.

The boy, now 13, appeared with his mother in Suffolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Tuesday. Dressed in a gray-and-white striped shirt and black jeans, he remained silent throughout the hearing.

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Judge Robert S. Brewbaker Jr. said that despite conflicting stories, he remains convinced the defendant is the one who threw the kitten against a wall and beat it with a stick on May 28, 2011, at a neighborhood playground in the 900 block of Brook Avenue.

The stray, estimated to be about 7 weeks old, succumbed to its injuries, which included a broken leg and skull, almost a week later.

A social and psychology evaluation presented in court Tuesday provided some telling information.

The young teen has been in fights on the school bus and at school. He avoids eye contact and claims to have no friends. If his antisocial behavior persists, a psychologist wrote, the defendant would be diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder.

Despite all of that, his lowest grade listed in the report was a C, his mother is very involved in his education and this was his first time involved in the court system.

“This young man is full of potential,” said his attorney, Lori Butts.

“I certainly recognize this young man’s potential,” Brewbaker said. “You have better grades than I ever see in this court.”

Even so, Brewbaker said, the crime was inexcusable, and the defendant won’t admit to it or express remorse.

“What was done to that kitten was awful and despicable,” he said. “We’ve still got multiple stories coming out of your mouth. What you’ve been consistent about is denying that you did it.”

Prosecutor Susan Walton said the defendant initially denied being on the playground, then said he was there but didn’t see the kitten, then said he played with the kitten but didn’t mistreat it, and finally blamed the abuse on the other children who were there.

Walton said her concern is the pattern of antisocial behavior.

“Historically speaking, young people who engage in this type of behavior sometimes engage in more destructive behavior later on,” she said.

Brewbaker said he thought placing the teen in juvenile detention “would be more destructive than constructive.”

He sentenced him to 30 days in juvenile detention, suspended on the condition that the boy does not violate any law for the next year. The judge also ordered him to become involved in the Suffolk Parks and Recreation mentoring program, remain on supervised probation and complete any therapy recommended, including individual or family therapy.

Brewbaker also told him to “cut out the foolishness at school.”

“This young man has a lot of things going for him,” he said. “He needs and deserves some friends.”