Man pleads guilty to torturing girlfriend's cat

Man pleads guilty to torturing girlfriend's cat

URBANA — A Savoy man who admitted he tortured his girlfriend's cat faces the possibility of prison when he is sentenced next month.

Nathan Sitter, 24, who listed an address in the 800 block of Village Park Way, pleaded guilty Monday before Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd to a single count of animal torture, admitting that he tried to strangle and drown the animal.

Assistant State's Attorney Tim Sullivan, laying out the facts for Ladd, said that when the owner of Mocha returned home on Dec. 4, she found her cat lifeless and cold.

She took the animal to the University of Illinois Small Animal Clinic, where numerous injuries to the cat were documented before it died several hours later. After the animal died, authorities at the clinic notified the Champaign County sheriff's office.

Sullivan said the girlfriend told deputies that Sitter did not like her cat and that he was home alone with it on that Friday while she was at work.

At the small animal clinic, professionals discovered that the cat's body temperature was 20 degrees below normal and that the cat had burst blood vessels in both eyes.

Despite their efforts to save the cat, Mocha died shortly after midnight on Dec. 4.

Sullivan said deputies later interviewed Sitter, who admitted that he tied a shoe lace around the cat's neck and swung the cat around by it. He also admitted that on Dec. 4 and on a prior occasion, he choked the cat.

He told deputies he put the cat in water on Dec. 4 to clean urine off of it, then later admitted he held the cat under water, brought it up for air and repeated that activity several times.

"In his own words, he told police he tortured Mocha," Sullivan said.

Ladd set sentencing for April 13. In exchange for Sitter's plea to the animal torture count, other charges of aggravated cruelty to animals were dismissed.

Sullivan said he intends to ask Ladd to sentence Sitter to four years in prison. Penalties for the offense of animal torture range from probation to two to five years in prison. Sullivan said Sitter has no known prior convictions.

Sitter is represented by Assistant Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones.

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bkp wrote on March 01, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Is he stupid, is he a psychopath, or what?

First, why would you do that to an animal? Period.

Second, why would you admit what you did to police? You don't think you'll get punished? If you feel guilty, see first question.

To lose years for your life in prison and never hold a decent job again? I mean, this dude's life is ruined, forever.

sweet caroline wrote on March 01, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Let's hope this despicable piece of crap goes to jail and doesn't get off on probation.  Animal abusers don't change.  I'll bet this wasn't his first act of terror and torture on an innocent animal and it won't be the last.  Is there an "animal torturer" registry like they have for sex offenders, where he'd have to report his criminal history to future employers, landlords, nearby schools, etc.?

Twinkletoes wrote on March 02, 2016 at 5:03 am

As a lover of animals and someone who has worked with Nate for the last couple of years I was really disturbed when I initially learned of the incident. I never in a million years would have expected him to do anything like this as he was always kind, helpful, and compassionate in all of my interactions with him. He had a great attitude about the job and seemed to handle responsibility well, but obviously there is no denying what he did as he has admitted it to the police directly.

 I also really struggled to understand why he or anyone would ever do something so heinous and evil. From what I have gathered from speaking to people closer to Nate than I is that Nate has serious mental health issues and was doing these terrible things to this cat as an outlet for the suicidal feelings he had for himself. In no way am I excusing his actions but learning that helped ease my mind to the endless wondering of how or why would anyone ever do that?  I have been told that since being released from jail Nate has been meeting with a therapist multiple times a week but obviously has a lot of mental health problems to work out based on his actions.  Nate has committed a terrible act for which he needs to make right so if the state of Illinois decides jail time is necessary I fully support that, but I really hope first and foremost that Nate can continue getting the help he needs from mental health professionals because I can attest first hand there is a good person somewhere inside of him, full of ambition and dreams and potential. Again, Nate made terrible decisions that are inexcusable and he needs to own those consequences, but please consider more than the limited-view, headline-creating way the news gazette portrays this story. 

Homeboy wrote on March 02, 2016 at 8:03 am

He should have put it in the oven, then he could have said he did it and been recorded and he would have been found not guilty.