Indiana man who uploaded videos of stolen animals being tortured and killed sentenced

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: An Indiana man faces more than a year in prison after he recorded himself stealing, torturing, killing and eating a lamb and two chickens and then uploaded the gruesome footage to Facebook.

Lake County Superior Court Judge Gina L. Jones on Monday, Nov. 20, ordered Nikola Kutansky, 37, to serve an 18-month sentence in the state correctional facility for the grotesque crime.

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In addition to the prison sentence, Jones also ordered Kutansky to serve an additional year of probation upon his release, perform 100 hours of community service, and undergo substance abuse and mental health counseling.

The accused allegedly had mental health problems

Kutansky pleaded guilty last month to one count of intentionally torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, a felony under state law. According to The Chicago Tribune, on Monday, November 20, the defendant told the court that at the time of his arrest he was struggling with mental health problems and an addiction to synthetic marijuana.

His claim was further supported by his mother, who reportedly told the court that when he stole, killed and ate these animals last year, an act she described as “beyond my understanding” as her son was unrecognizable with the child she once knew and loved.

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However, after his internment, she told the court that Kutansky had undergone “significant changes” for the better. She said her son was working to “improve himself” and become “more humble and responsible,” the Tribune reported. Jones reportedly agreed, telling the condemned man, “I believe you are on the right track,” before handing down the sentence.

When did Nikola Kutansky commit the crime?

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In 2022, authorities obtained video of Kutansky with the animals, all of which were stolen from Buckley-Homestead County Park in 2018. In one of the videos, the defendant admitted that he stole the animals and brought them to his home, which is located in the 7900 block of Linden Avenue.

Kutanski can also be seen shooting a lamb in another clip with an air pistol, and then, while it was clearly still alive, cutting the wounded animal’s throat with a knife. In the video, he can also be heard saying “reddrum”, which means “murder” spelled backwards.

Prosecutors also emphasized that during the sentencing, at least one of the videos showed Kutansky’s young son in the background, the Tribune reported. “When you steal a bunch of chickens because your kid wants a petting zoo,” Kutansky said in the footage.

When did the authorities learn about the incident?

Authorities initially learned of the alleged videos during a years-long investigation into a series of break-ins at the Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Sanctuary office in Newton County. An Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) investigator came across the videos online and saw that they had been posted to Kutansky’s personal Facebook account.

In an interview with a DNR detective, authorities said Kutansky said he had no idea how the animals ended up in his home, but allegedly admitted he knew their fate. “I know I ate them,” Kutansky said when asked what happened to the lamb and chickens.

Authorities obtained and executed a search warrant, during which some of Kutansky’s electronic devices were seized. The search uncovered Facebook messages he had sent that included photos of a lamb standing in his home’s living room and backyard. There were also photographs of Kutansky shooting a lamb and cutting its throat.

One message sent to an adult woman included a picture of two legs of lamb on the grill. In this conversation, Kutansky reportedly said he “had a little fun at first.” He later wrote: “Massacre lol.”

“I ate this sheep bro, chopped it up and grilled it,” he allegedly wrote in another. Kutansky is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence on two counts of burglary, court records show.

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