Kelowna hamster killer handed conditional sentence, not allowed in pet shops

Leighton Labute appeared in a Kelowna court docket on Wednesday after pleading responsible earlier this 12 months

The Kelowna man who tortured and killed three hamsters has been sentenced to an 18-month situation sentence, adopted by three years probation.

Leighton Labute was charged in Could 2020 after social media posts made a 12 months earlier surfaced of an incident that depicted him torturing hamsters. In June, he pleaded responsible to at least one cost of killing or injuring an animal in a plea deal, that noticed two different costs stayed — one for inflicting pointless ache and struggling to an animal and one other for making or publishing obscene matter.

The 21-year-old appeared in a Kelowna courtroom on Wednesday for sentencing.

READ MORE: Accused Kelowna hamster killer has trial date set for 2021

Shortly after he was charged, an Instagram account with over 7,000 followers, which incorporates Labute’s identify within the bio, grew to become public. It largely consisted largely of images of anthropomorphic clay sculptures and dolls depicting gore and rape.

Black Press Media has chosen to not identify the account as a result of graphic nature of the content material.

A YouTube account underneath Labute’s identify comprises related content material, in addition to vulgar discussions of his sexual fantasies, some involving intercourse dolls. One video on that account, titled “1 child 3 hamsters” and dated Could 14, 2019, exhibits a person with three hamsters he’d just lately bought.

These Instagram and YouTube accounts turned investigators onto a Reddit account that additionally belonged to Labute, the place the video in query was posted to a number of boards.

These posts have been in subreddits akin to r/aww, r/animals and r/genius the place disturbing content material is misplaced and never anticipated.

Crown Counsel Maegan Richards says that Labute posted on Twitter in regards to the enjoyment he will get in posting this content material and the way it ruins peoples’ days.

Labute was reportedly recognized and linked to the accounts by members of Kelowna Secondary College.

Following the fees towards Labute, protests have been held outdoors the Kelowna Courtroom Home the place residents claimed they have been elevating consciousness about what the person did and demanded harsh punishment for his crime.

Throughout Wednesday’s proceedings, the Labute household issued an announcement with regard to Leighton’s psychological well being, noting he’s severely autistic. Psychiatric reviews submitted by medical doctors for sentencing discovered him to have the psychological capability of a 12-year-old and important mental deficit.

The assertion reads as follows:

The Labute household supplied this assertion to media: — Michael Rodriguez (@MichaelRdrguez) August 18, 2021

Defence lawyer Julian Van Der Walle centered on Labute’s autism spectrum dysfunction (ASD) in addition to his impaired interpersonal abilities, low intelligence, and historical past of bullying as doubtlessly mitigating elements within the sentencing.

Decide Paul Dohm acknowledged the factors introduced up however didn’t decide any of them to be mitigating elements, including that the recommended sentence of 18 months conditional and three years probation “fully match and is an applicable sentence, particularly for this accused.”

The first phrases of his sentence embody not proudly owning pets or visiting pet shops, adhering to a strict 9 a.m. to six p.m. curfew, no entry to the web for any non-approved causes and no deleting web historical past or use of incognito shopping.

Whereas Labute selected to stay silent through the trial, he did verbally perceive and adjust to the phrases of his sentencing.

Neither Van Der Walle nor the household have been accessible for remark after the sentencing.

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