Man pleads guilty to burning puppies |

Man pleads guilty to burning puppies

GOLDEN – A 20-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday to aggravated animal cruelty for stealing five puppies and burning two of them to death.Ryan Turtura of Littleton was accused of breaking into a Colorado Humane Society shelter in February and stealing the dogs. Court records said he admitted to setting three of them on fire. One of the burned puppies survived.Turtura also pleaded guilty Friday to contributing to the delinquency of a minor in an unrelated case. Prosecutors said he provided methamphetamine to two teen girls.Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 25. He could serve up to 10 1/2 years in prison and faces fines of up to $800,000.A bail-reduction hearing was scheduled for Tuesday. Turtura has been jailed on $20,000 bail.Turtura originally was charged with arson, burglary, theft and aggravated cruelty to animals, which could have brought a maximum prison sentence of 40 years.Russell said prosecutors had a strong case but were concerned that a judge might not have allowed Turtura’s statements to law enforcement officers to be used at trial.”Any time you take a case to court you have to believe you have a substantial likelihood of conviction and weigh that against the possibility of acquittal,” Russell said. “But there has to be accountability and responsibility, so we believe this was appropriate.”

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