We now know the fate of a man who tortured and killed a kitten.
Investigators say 25-year-old Robert Heckmann recorded himself torturing and killing a 12-week-old kitten named Loki.
Heckmann pleaded guilty to the crime back in March.
11 News was in the Pueblo courtroom as the judge handed down his sentence. Heckmann will spend two years and three months behind bars.
Investigators say they found video of Heckmann torturing and killing Loki. They say Heckmann then sent text messages in which he described killing the kitten.
"You feel euphoric and just don't care what else is going on. A huge natural high."
11 News talked to Loki's former owner, Steven Malcolmson, about the sentencing.
"It's not enough of course for me, but it's a huge win for animal rights, it really is. As long as we can keep that momentum going, hopefully we can get some legislation passed to make it so stuff like this doesn't happen anymore," said Malcolmson.
Animal law enforcement (ALE) officers in Pueblo were tipped off to the existence of the video, and say they found both the video and text messages after searching Heckmann's home.
After describing in detail the torture and death--with a smiley face icon--authorities say the text took an even more disturbing turn.
"That's why killing is addictive. I haven't had that high in so long, and I'm pissed it's already over."
ALE officers found Loki's body in a garbage bag inside Heckmann's home. They say the video showed the tiger kitten suffered tremendously at his tormentor's hands. According to the text messages, when drowning didn't kill him, Heckmann allegedly strangled Loki for 10 minutes.
Authorities were able to rescue Loki's brother, 12-week-old Stewie. Stewie has since been adopted by another family.
When the crime was first reported, authorities said Heckmann had adopted Loki, but Malcolmson said Heckmann was actually just pet-sitting. Malcolmson released a statement he hopes to read at Heckmann's sentencing hearing Monday. The statement is below in its entirety.
I am the owner of the deceased kitten known as Loki.
I adopted Loki with the intent of giving him a safe and loving home for the rest of his life.
During a move from my apartment, I asked Robert Heckmann to temporarily watch my kitten, as we had adopted the litter mates together, Stewie for him and Loki for me. Robert agreed to look after him, a request I will regret making for the rest of my life.
When I heard the news that Robert had killed Loki I thought that it must be a mistake, but I soon realized that it was true, as the sickening specifics of Loki’s death and Robert’s enjoyment over it began to come out. With each new piece of news I hated myself more and more for making the decision to place the life of my pet in the hands of Robert Heckmann.
Some images do not leave me your Honor. Wondering what Loki was thinking when he was forced into a bucket of water. Did he think his hell was over when he broke out of the bucket that was used to attempt to drown him? How afraid, and terrified he must have been, still aching from being thrown against the walls only a couple of days earlier, when he could have been saved, but no one saved him.
My little kitten tried so hard to survive the ongoing torture. I know he had to have wondered where I was. I know he screamed for me during his murder, as anyone would. Everyone and everything in that situation would cry out for help from their parent. How could Robert Heckmann take pleasure in the distress of a kitten he had promised to care for? I was not there to save him, in fact I am responsible for putting him in Robert Heckmann’s hands. How can I ever make peace with this decision? The answer to that, is I can’t.
I know that while he gasped for his last breath, when his life was ending as Robert Heckmann strangled him to death, he was so terrified and was so afraid and he was hoping that I would save him.I just can't get my mind around how someone could be so detached and cruel to something so defenseless.
So this is more than the senseless torture of a kitten named Loki. I, Steven Malcolmson, am a tortured man your Honor, every day, every night. There is no escape, there is no relief from my pain, guilt and regret. The visions of what Loki must have looked like during his torture, the days before his death and his ultimate death, the terror in his eyes stay with me every day. I have nightmares that are indescribable.
This case against Robert Heckmann is many things to members of the public. To them it is also about animal rights and the correlation between animal killers and serial killers and they are right, they are all correct.
But I respectfully say to you, your Honor that it is about my kitten Loki, who deserved the life that I promised him when I adopted him and a man, me, who is now and will forever be, tortured with images that will never leave me.
I ask that you sentence Robert Heckmann to the maximum possible sentence. Regardless of his sentence, I will be tortured long after he is a free man, and my Loki is forever dead. I beg you to send a message to the citizens of this city, our nation, and the world who are undoubtedly watching, that what Robert Heckmann did to Loki, what he did to me, were the actions of a cruel amoral person and will not be tolerated. And I want you to send a message to Robert Heckmann.