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Accused kitten killer claims others were involved

KRDO NewsChannel 13 Exclusive

Heckmann Interview

PUEBLO, Colo. - 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.

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