Early last week at the Juneau State Courthouse, a Juneau man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison for a felony related to suffocating and torturing one or multiple kittens in early 2020. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Early last week at the Juneau State Courthouse, a Juneau man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison for a felony related to suffocating and torturing one or multiple kittens in early 2020. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Juneau man sentenced to five years for torturing kittens

He was also sentenced on a drug charge.

A Juneau man pleaded guilty early last week to a felony related to suffocating and torturing one or multiple kittens in early 2020, according to court documents.

Bradley A. Bethel, 35, was sentenced to five years in prison resulting from his conviction on a felony cruelty to animal charge and was ruled a worst offender by Judge Amy Mead.

Bethel was sentenced the maximum amount of time allowed under state statute, said prosecutor Bailey Woolfstead, who in June took over the case from former District Attorney Angie Kemp.

“The shocking inhumanity Bethel displayed is difficult to express, and the videos taken in his own home are heart wrenching to observe,” stated Woolfstead in a sentencing memo. “Simply put, his actions are a worst offense and sentencing him to a maximum sentence for animal cruelty is appropriate.”

According to Woolfstead, Bethel spoke in court and apologized for his actions.

Bethel is currently being held at Lemon Creek Correctional Center, according to VINELink, and is eligible for good time credits and discretionary parole after serving a quarter of his sentence, according to court documents.

Bethel was originally charged with a felony in mid-January 2020 after an unrelated police investigation turned up a video of a person who appeared to be Bethel committing animal cruelty to kittens.

Following the charge, a $20,000 warrant was issued by police and days later Bethel was indicted, arrested and taken to Lemon Creek Correctional Center. Prior to the arrest for cruelty to animals, Bethel was arrested for heroin trafficking in Juneau in 2013 and spent time in federal prison.

“Bethel brutalized two kittens one on video, repeatedly suffocating him, strangling him, crushing him with his body weight, punching him, shaking him, and throwing him at the wall,” according to the memo.

Animal Control Officer Karen Wood made a statement on behalf of the kittens in the courtroom on the day of Bethel’s conviction.

Bethel was also sentenced to three years on attempted misconduct involving a controlled substance. One year of that sentence is concurrent to the animal cruelty charge, for a total sentence of seven years.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

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