CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: An Indiana man faces more than a year in prison after filming himself stealing, torturing, killing and eating a lamb and two chickens, then uploading the gruesome footage to Facebook.
Lake County Superior Court Judge Gina L. Jones on Monday, Nov. 20, ordered Nikola I Kutansky, 37, to serve an 18-month sentence in a state correctional facility for this grotesque crime.
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In addition to his imprisonment, Jones also ordered Kutansky to serve an additional year of probation after his release, perform 100 hours of community service and undergo substance abuse and mental health counseling.
The defendant suffered from mental health problems
Kutansky pleaded guilty last month to one count of knowingly torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, a felony under state law. According to the Chicago Tribune, the defendant told the court on Monday, November 20, that he was suffering from mental health issues and an addiction to synthetic marijuana at the time of his arrest.
His claim was also supported by his mother who reportedly informed the court that when he stole, killed and ate these animals last year, an act she described as “beyond my ability to comprehend”, because her son was unrecognizable from the child she once knew and loved.
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However, after his internment, she told the court that Kutansky had undergone a “significant change” for the better. She said her son had strived to “improve himself” and become “more humble and more responsible” in the process, the Tribune reported. Jones reportedly agreed, telling the condemned man, “I think you’re on the right track,” before passing sentence.
When did Nikola Kutansky commit the crime?
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In 2022, authorities obtained videos of Kutansky with the animals, all of which were stolen from the Buckley County Homestead Park in 2018. The defendant admitted in one of the videos that he stole the animals and had brought them to his home, located in the 7900 Block of Linden Avenue.
Kutansky can also be seen shooting the lamb in another clip with a BB gun and then, while it was clearly still alive, using a knife to slit the injured animal’s throat. He can also be heard saying “redrum” in the video, which means “murder” spelled backwards.
Prosecutors also pointed out that during sentencing, at least one of the videos showed Kutansky’s young son in the background, according to the Tribune. “When you steal a bunch of chickens because your kid wants a petting zoo,” Kutansky said in the footage.
When did the authorities become aware of the incident?
Authorities initially became aware of the alleged videos during a years-long investigation into a series of break-ins at the Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area office in Newton County. An investigator with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) discovered the videos online and found that they had been posted to Kutansky’s personal Facebook account.
In an interview with a DNR detective, authorities said Kutansky claimed he had no idea how the animals ended up at his home, but he reportedly admitted he knew their ultimate fate. “I know I ate them,” Kutansky replied when asked what happened to the lamb and chickens.
Authorities obtained and executed a search warrant during which they seized some of Kutansky’s electronic devices. Those searches revealed Facebook messages he had sent, including photos of the lamb standing in the living room of his home and in the garden. There were also photos of Kutansky shooting the lamb and slitting its throat.
One message sent to an adult woman showed a photo of two legs of lamb on the grill. In that conversation, Kutansky reportedly said he “had fun with it at first.” He later wrote: “Massacre LOL.”
“I ate this sheep, my brother, I cut it into pieces and I grilled it,” he reportedly wrote in another article. Kutansky is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence for two counts of burglary, according to court records.
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