House arrest for Merritt man who killed kitten in front of young niece and nephew | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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House arrest for Merritt man who killed kitten in front of young niece and nephew

July 03, 2020 - 2:30 PM

A Merritt man was sentenced to house arrest today as part of a nine-month conditional sentence after strangling a kitten in front of his young niece and nephew.

David John Aikins, 42, was living with his sister and her kids in Merritt when the crime occurred on July 7, 2019. A Kamloops Provincial Court judge heard today, July 3, that Aikins was watching 20 cats and kittens and felt that he was receiving no help in caring for them. Frustrated, he strangled one of the kittens in front of his niece and nephew, killing it.

The court heard that the kitten was held by the children’s mother while it took its last breaths. Police later found the body of the kitten in the bathroom of the home.

Crown prosecutor Alex Janse asked for a nine-month conditional sentence for Aikins' crime.

“He got angry and killed one of the kittens in front of the niece and nephew by strangling it to death,“ Janse said. “The two children are very affected by this.”

Aikins’ defense lawyer Chris Thompson described his client as an introverted and reclusive man and noted he has been receiving psychiatric treatment following the event, as required by the court. He said Aikins had a difficult upbringing and was physically abused growing up but is now trying to work through his anger issues and is on medication for depression, but says a new job will likely help his well-being.

Provincial court judge Roy Dickey quoted the pre-sentence report while delivering his sentence.

“‘Mr. Aikins describes enjoying killing the animal and appears to have experienced a source of relief from his actions.’ End of quote. That, of course, is quite concerning but I also accept that this may have been an emotion that Mr. Aikins experienced as a result of his being overwhelmed by his circumstances… in hindsight, I accept that Mr. Aikins is clearly remorseful for what he did and especially for the fact that he did it in front of and in the presence of his nephew and niece,” Dickey said.

Following the killing, Aikins and his sister had a fight and the court heard he moved in with his mother. He will be on house arrest for the first four months of his nine-month conditional sentence and Aikins will only be allowed to leave to travel to and work at his new job unless given written permission. He is prohibited from owning weapons and may only use knives for food preparation and work duties. He must keep the courts informed of all address changes and will be required to do regular check-ins, among other conditions.

Lastly, Aikins may not own any animals and must not have control of or reside in any house with an animal or bird for ten years.

“He was overwhelmed by having to care of these kittens and cats, he was not getting help and he was having more and more difficulty and that feeling of being overwhelmed finally resulted in his strangulation of one of the kittens. Unfortunately he did this in front of his young nephew and niece and that clearly would have, and has had, a traumatic effect on them,” Dickey says.

If Aikins breaks any of the conditions set out by Dickey he may face arrest and his sentence converted to jail time.


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