A 37-year-old man in Indiana will spend more than a year behind bars after he filmed himself stealing, torturing, killing, and eating a lamb and two chickens — then posted the footage to Facebook. Lake County Superior Court Judge Gina L. Jones on Monday ordered Nikola I. Kutansky to serve a sentence of 18 months in a state correctional facility for the grotesque crime, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.
In addition to the incarceration, Jones also ordered Kutansky to serve an additional year on probation following his release, to complete 100 hours of community service, and to undergo substance abuse and mental health counseling.
Kutansky last month pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, a felony under state law.
During Monday’s hearing, Kutansky told the court that he was struggling with mental health issues and a synthetic marijuana addiction at the time of his arrest, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune.
His claim was buttressed by testimony from his mother, who reportedly told the court that when he stole, killed, and ate those animals last year — a crime she described as “beyond my ability to comprehend” — her son was unrecognizable from the child she once knew and loved. However, since his incarceration, she told the court that Kutansky had undergone a “significant change” for the better.
She said that her son had been working to “improve himself” and become “more humble and responsible” in the process, the Tribune reported.
Jones reportedly agreed, telling the convict, “I believe you are on the right track,” before handing down the sentence.
As previously reported by Law&Crime, authorities in 2022 obtained videos of Kutansky with the animals, all of which were stolen from Buckley Homestead County Park in 2018. In one of the videos, Kutansky admits that he stole the animals and brought them to his home, which is located in the 7900 block of Linden Avenue.
In another, Kutansky can be seen shooting the lamb several times with a BB gun and then, while it was clearly still alive, using a knife to slit the injured animal’s throat. He also can be heard saying “redrum” in the video, which is “murder” spelled backward.
During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors also emphasized that in at least one of the videos showed Kutansky’s young son in the background, per the Tribune.
“When you steal a bunch of chickens because your kid wants a petting zoo,” Kutansky said in the footage.
Authorities initially learned about the alleged videos during a multiyear 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) came across the videos online, and saw that they had been posted to Kutansky’s personal Facebook account.
In an interview with a DNR detective, authorities said Kutansky claimed that he had no idea how the animals ended up at his home, but he allegedly admitted that he knew their ultimate fate.
“I know I ate them,” Kutansky responded when asked what happened to the lamb and chickens.
Authorities obtained and executed a search warrant where they seized some of Kutansky’s electronic devices. Those searches uncovered Facebook messages he sent which included pictures of the lamb standing in the living room of his home and in the backyard. There were also photos of Kutansky shooting the lamb and slitting its throat.
One message sent to an adult female showed a picture of two legs of lamb on the grill. In that conversation, Kutansky reportedly said he “had some fun first with it.” He later wrote, “Massacre LOL.”
“I ate that sheep, bro, chopped it up and grilled it,” he allegedly wrote in another.
Kutansky is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence for two counts of burglary, court records show.
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