INDIO (CBS) — A Riverside County judge Friday sentenced a man to 32 months in prison for animal cruelty but not before calling his crimes “mind boggling” and an animal rights activist calling the abuser among “the worst of the worst.”
Timothy Arie Kooyman, 26, described as an itinerant, received the maximum penalty for three counts of animal cruelty after animal welfare advocates apparently impressed Riverside Superior Court Judge John Davis with the magnitude of his crimes.
“That is a significant sentence for someone who has been in state prison for the first time,” said Davis.
Heads of animal rights groups at the sentencing urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence and had harsh words for Kooyman.
“I can say that I’ve seen the worst of the worst, and you’re in the top three,” Lori Curran, a member of the Animal Rescue Foundation. She also works as a homicide detective.
Davis added the 32 months to a five-year sentence Kooyman was already serving for a previous animal cruelty conviction.
During Kooyman’s trial, a San Bernardino County sheriff’s detective testified that he learned about the animal torture-slayings in Corona after arresting the defendant for killing four cats in Rancho Cucamonga.
Cpl. Alonzo Daniel said that during a May 2008 interview, Kooyman said he used food to lure a calico, a black-and-white tabby and a Siamese to his Corona motel room, and that he bragged about snapping the calico’s legs and later running over it with his pickup truck.
Daniel testified that Kooyman became mad when the black-and-white cat “wouldn’t love him” and “used an ax to strike the cat twice in the stomach.” He decapitated it, as well.
Daniel said that, “for no particular reason,” Kooyman filled a plastic tub full of water and locked the Siamese inside, trying unsuccessfully to drown it. He eventually used a scalpel to kill the cat.
Deputy District Attorney Sharunne Foster cited the vulgarity of those crimes when imploring Davis to institute an upper-term sentence.
“This is someone who found great pleasure in torturing animals and watching them suffer,” Foster said. “This is the worst possible scenario of animal cruelty.”
Davis denied her request of a 44-month prison term, which would have involved superceding the San Bernardino County court’s decision, but delivered a sentence that was agreeable to those on hand.
Defense attorney Souley Diallo implored Davis to avoid an upper-term sentence because the San Bernardino conviction was the first on Kooyman’s record.
Kooyman barely looked at the four activists addressing him and instead stared straight ahead throughout the hearing.
Foster said that during a meeting in the judge’s chambers before the hearing, Davis said he would sentence Kooyman to two years in prison. She attributed the harsher penalty to the display of emotion and concern given by the speakers.
“It seemed like it had an impact,” said Anne Feingold, director of The Urban Cat Project. “It was worth it to take the time off work and to spend the money.”
Curran had the harshest words for Kooyman.
Based on her work as a detective, she told the court a story in which a man who was found to have tortured a dog later tortured and murdered a teenage boy.
“Although the facts are different, the behavioral pattern that leads up to a homicide are eerily similar,” Curran said.
Kooyman was sentenced in May 2009 to five years in prison for arson and animal cruelty in a case in San Bernardino County. With good time credit, he was expected to be released next month.
The new sentence will keep Kooyman behind bars for at least two more years. It also gives him two strikes, meaning that if he is convicted of a third felony, he could be sentenced to 25 years to life behind bars.
“He is among the worst I’ve seen,” Leroy Moyer, president of Voices for Pets, told reporters. “He is a Jeffrey Dahmer-type, a sadistic sociopath. His lust for dominance will not end until he ends up killing a human, probably a defenseless child.”
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