Teen receives four years in prison for torturing house cat and pet rabbits

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A teen who strangled his stepmother’s tabby cat and tortured and killed the family’s two pet rabbits was sentenced to four years in prison Tuesday afternoon.

Devan Taylor Diltz, 19, appeared with Managing Public Defender Jason Mitchell for a pretrial hearing at the Miller County Correctional Center. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell told Miller County Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson that Diltz’s plea bargain includes two six-month terms in the county jail for killing Huckleberry and Aurora, two rabbits that went missing from his father’s and stepmother’s Texarkana, Ark., home Dec. 8. For strangling Socks the cat Dec. 10, Diltz received a four-year prison sentence. All of the terms will run at the same time.

Diltz threw the cat out of a moving car as he rode along Jefferson Ave., according to a probable cause affidavit. Diltz told staff at a Louisiana mental hospital that he enjoys torturing animals. Diltz told a friend that he tortured and suffocated Huckleberry and Aurora before nailing their bodies to a tree, dismembering them and burying them in a Texarkana, Ark., park.

Diltz claimed that he later dug up the dead rabbits, dismembered them more and burned their carcasses before burying them a second time. Investigators found a charred cardboard box which contained maggots buried on the grounds of Sugarhill Methodist Church, where Diltz told his friend he’d buried one of the rabbits. At Ed Worrell Park in Texarkana, Ark., investigators with animal services found a tree with holes in it that could have been made by nails.

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When Diltz showed up for court Tuesday morning in a button down and tie, he was taken into custody. When he stood before Johnson for sentencing, he was wearing orange.

Last week Johnson signed an order revoking Diltz’s bond. Connie Mitchell filed a motion requesting bond revocation because Diltz was arrested in Garland, Texas, for burglary of a habitation. That charge remains pending against Diltz and a conviction means two to 20 years in prison.

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