Case Snapshot
Case ID: 20035
Classification: Choking / Strangulation / Suffocation, Drowning
Animal: cat
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Sunday, Jan 19, 2014

County: Pueblo

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Robert Heckmann

Case Updates: 3 update(s) available

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region says a Pueblo man is facing charges for allegedly videotaping himself torturing and killing a 12-week-old kitten.

Robert Heckmann, 25, is facing felony animal cruelty charges.

The Humane Society says the video shows Heckmann trying to drown and then eventually strangling the orange tiger Kitten named Loki. It says Heckmann was arrested after animal law enforcement officers searched his home and found Loki's body in a garbage can on Jan. 19.

According to the Humane Society, animal law enforcement officers also found a number of text messages about the incident on his cell phone. It says one text read quote: "I feel like a (expletive) sick person… You feel euphoric and just don't care what else is going on. A huge natural high. That's why killing is addictive. I haven't had that high in so long, and I'm pissed it's already over."

Joe Stafford, Director of Animal Law Enforcement at the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region and Pueblo Animal Services, says this is one of the worst, most distressing cases of cruelty he has ever seen.

"There is a strong correlation between animal cruelty and other forms of violence. This type of violence worries me." Stafford said."We've seen many cases in which those convicted of animal cruelty go on to commit other acts of violence such as domestic violence, child abuse, or elder abuse. Our main concern is to see justice done on behalf of Loki. While it's up to the courts to decide, we hope Heckmann is prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Heckmann is out on bond and awaiting arraignment. He faces up to 18 months in prison if convicted of the charges he's facing.

Animal law enforcement with the Humane Society rescued Loki's brother, Stewie, from the home.

Stewie suffers from a congenital esophagus malformation that will require extensive surgery before he will be available for adoption. Staff veterinarians are working with a specialist to get him the best care possible. He will eventually be up for adoption at the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.


Case Updates

The man accused of torturing and killing a kitten admits he was involved, but says there's more to the story.

Robert Heckmann, 25, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges. Heckmann contacted KRDO NewsChannel 13 saying he wanted to share his side of the story. In an exclusive interview, he claims there were other people involved who have not been prosecuted.

Investigators say Heckmann videotaped himself torturing and killing a kitten named Loki. Heckmann was arrested after Loki's body was found in a garbage can on Jan. 19. According to arrest affidavits, his ex-girlfriend reported the incident to police after receiving concerning text messages from Heckmann. One text read: "I feel like a (expletive) sick person… You feel euphoric and just don't care what else is going on. A huge natural high. That's why killing is addictive. I haven't had that high in so long, and I'm pissed it's already over."

"I'll admit there was some involvement," Heckmann tells KRDO NewsChannel 13. "Obviously it kind of says for itself it was on my phone. But I don't always have my phone. My phone wasn't on me at all times. There are so many aspects of it."

Heckmann says that others, including his ex-girlfriend, were involved in the killing. He says he reluctantly pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal, but wishes people knew there were others involved as well. He faces up to 90 days in jail if the judge accepts his plea at his sentencing hearing.

"I'm probably going to get the book thrown at me," he says. "There's no doubt about that. It's what everyone's wanting."

Heckmann says he chose to share his side because of the threats made against him and particularly his family. He says he's seen threats online and in person and was even stabbed in the leg by someone while he was outside smoking on Feb. 2. The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office increased security around his home in light of the threats.

"That is what bothers me," he says. "They can threaten me all day long and it doesn't bother me none. They're all open threats and I can handle them, but involving my family and my child? That's my son and nobody messes with my son."

Heckmann says he is also bothered by people calling him a monster and a potential serial killer.

"They're trying to do whatever they can to make me look like a monster, that I'm going to be a serial killer which is one thing that's been repeated over and over again which is ridiculous."

"Honestly, I'm an animal lover," he says. "I have pets, I grew up with pets. I volunteered at the Pueblo Zoo when I was a teenager. I absolutely love animals. I always have. This is absolutely ridiculous."

KRDO NewsChannel 13 asked Heckmann how he could go from being an animal lover to having at least some involvement in the killing of a kitten.

"It's more of the involvement with the wrong people," he says.

Heckmann says he can't get into any more specifics about the video tape or text messages because of his open case.

Thousands have turned to Facebook to express their sadness and outrage. Steve Malcomson created a page titled "Justice for Loki" that has more than 4,000 followers.

"I'm trying to get some legislation passed to make aggravated animal cruelty a harsher crime than it is," Malcomson told KRDO NewsChannel 13 last month.

Aggravated animal cruelty is a Class 6 Felony, the lowest felony offense. The Facebook page is now promoting a petition, asking the judge in Heckmann's case not to accept his plea deal and let the case go to a jury trial.
Source: KRDO - March 13, 2014
Update posted on Apr 20, 2014 - 3:59AM 
Robert Heckmann pleaded guilty this morning to aggravated animal cruelty after causing public disdain for strangling and drowning a 12-week-old kitten while recording and texting about his about pleasure at the act.

About 15 people protested Heckmann's actions outside the Pueblo judicial building after the hearing.
Source: Pueblo Chieftan - Feb 14, 2014
Update posted on Apr 20, 2014 - 3:58AM 
The former girlfriend of a Pueblo man who reported him to authorities for allegedly killing a kitten is seeking a permanent restraining order against him.

The 23-year-old woman's application for the restraining order suggests that the incident for which Robert Heckmann, 25, was arrested Jan. 15 was part of a larger series of menacing behavior.

The hearing to determine whether she will receive a protection order preventing Heckmann from having any contact with her was rescheduled to next week.

There is a temporary order in place for the duration of the criminal case. Heckmann is free on $5,000 bail.

In the woman's request for the order, she claims Heckmann menaced her with a gun, threatened to harm her ex-boyfriend and threatened to "go on a rampage" if she broke up with him.

The woman said that a few days before his arrest, she argued with Heckmann about his wanting to harm her ex and that he "became enraged and threw a 10-week-old kitten against the wall."

Following that, he took his gun out and placed it between them, then took the weapon apart and threw the pieces onto the bed, she claimed.

The woman alleges that he proceeded to stare at her for hours.

Heckmann is facing only an aggravated animal cruelty charge for the Jan. 15 incident, in which he allegedly recorded his attempt to drown and then strangle the same kitten the woman claims he threw against the wall.

He is accused of sending the photos and videos to the woman, who then reported him to the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office.

Heckmann is considering a plea agreement and is scheduled for a plea hearing Thursday.
Source: Pueblo Chieftan - Feb 11, 2014
Update posted on Apr 20, 2014 - 3:58AM 

References

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