🔴 Asbury Park man admits to horrific animal abuse

🔴 Pet cat was tortured before the killing

🔴 He faces a maximum of 5 years in prison

ASBURY PARK — A 19-year-old man has confessed to the appalling and prolonged torture of his pet cat that ended with him throwing the animal's corpse out a window last year.

Bani Mezquititla pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree animal cruelty in Superior Court in Monmouth County on Tuesday.

Prosecutors will recommend five years in state prison for Mezquititla as part of the plea agreement. He will also be ordered to pay restitution for the cat's necropsy and barred from owning or living with animals. Sentencing is scheduled for June 13, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.

Superior Court Judge Chad Cagan said that Mezquititla is not a U.S. citizen and could face deportation, the Asbury Park Press reported.

Mezquititla's pet cat Ellie (Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office)
Mezquititla's pet cat Ellie (Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office)

Cat tortured, sexually abused

The Asbury Park police arrested Mezquititla on March 2, 2023, after his roommate found the corpse of his pet cat Ellie and reported it to police.

Mezquititla in court Tuesday admitted to performing sex acts on the cat in the weeks leading up to the killing. The sexual abuse, which included intercourse and the use of a pencil, caused serious physical injuries.

Prosecutors said the teen showed his roommate photos of the torture he inflicted on the animal.

🚨 GRAPHIC DETAIL: NJ man charged with torture, killing of cat denied bail

Bani Mezquititla in court 3/14/23. (Doug Hood via Asbury Park Press)
Bani Mezquititla in court 3/14/23. (Doug Hood via Asbury Park Press)

Mezquititla also admitted to strangling the cat to death using a phone cord before throwing it out of his apartment window.

Why cat rapist faces max of 5 years

The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office defended Mezquititla's sentence as "fully appropriate" in a statement to the Asbury Park Press.

"Under New Jersey law, there is a presumption of non-incarceration for defendants convicted of third-degree criminal offenses, in the absence of any criminal history – as was the case in this matter. As such, due to the seriousness of the conduct, the state’s plea offer went far beyond that, and if its provisions are granted by the court, it would rank among the most severe penalties ever levied against an individual charged with animal cruelty in New Jersey."

While other crimes can result in decades in prison, even the most depraved animal abuse can only be charged as a third-degree crime. Any third-degree offense in New Jersey carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

State Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, introduced legislation in the wake of Mezquititla's arrest that would make extreme animal abuse a second-degree offense.

RELATED: Cat rape case prompts NJ officials to consider tougher penalties

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