STANTON, Neb. — The fourth of four teenagers accused of torturing animals last fall admitted his involvement in Stanton County Court on Tuesday.
The 14-year-old was charged with two counts of mistreatment of an animal — one count involving a cat and one a possum. Both incidents occurred between Oct. 20 and Nov. 3, 2015.
The juvenile admitted his involvement pursuant to a plea agreement in which the prosecution agreed to make no recommendations on sentencing.
Deputy Stanton County Attorney Cory Locke said the defendant and two other boys trapped a cat, and one of them shot it with a crossbow and homemade arrows. The animal was eventually released, and the defendant shot and killed it with a compound bow.
Locke said the defendant and two boys lit the opossum on fire and threw it in a burn barrel. One of the boys eventually killed the opossum, Locke said.
Stanton County Judge Michael Long found the facts supported the allegations against the defendant, and he set a dispositional hearing for March 22.
Three other juveniles have also admitted their involvement in the case.
An adult, Kirk Van Pelt, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to six misdemeanor charges in the case. Van Pelt has been charged with two counts of aiding and abetting cruel mistreatment of an animal and four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child.
Each charge is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Van Pelt is a former deputy with the Stanton County Sheriff’s Office and serves on the Stanton Public School board.