An Orange County man has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and bail-jumping after he burned a kitten and a cat to death in a cage.
Dee Jay Atkins, 55, pleaded guilty Thursday to aggravated cruelty to animals and second-degree bail jumping, confirmed the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
During his plea, Atkins admitted that on Aug. 6 he caught the cat and kitten in a cage, poured lighter fluid on them and then lit them on fire, killing both, the DA's Office said.
He also pleaded guilty for failing to appear in court following his initial arrest in the case.
In exchange for his guilty pleas, the District Attorney's Office will recommend two years in prison on the animal cruelty charge and one to three-and-half years on the bail jumping charge, the office said.
Prosecutors plan to request that his sentences run consecutively, but during the plea phase, Judge William DeProspo promised Atkins he will run the sentences concurrently.
“Killing a caged animal by setting it on fire is an unfathomable act of wanton cruelty,” said Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler. “Anyone who would engage in such conduct deserves severe punishment."
Atkins is being held in the Orange County Jail on $25,000 bail or $50,000 bond, until his sentencing which has not been scheduled.
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