NEW YORK — A graphic designer accused of surreptitiously killing a series of his girlfriend's cats pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated animal cruelty, ending an eerie case in which authorities said the unsuspecting woman kept replacing her dying pets.
Sean Lynde said little during a brief hearing in a Manhattan court, where he also admitted violating an order of protection by posting online messages aimed at his now-ex-girlfriend.
State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus adjourned Lynde's case in contemplation of dismissal, meaning it's set to be closed without jail time or probation if he attends weekly therapy sessions, stays away from the woman and meets other conditions.
But Obus called the plea deal "not the most satisfying disposition, I must say." He said authorities had fielded "a lot of comments from people who are very upset, justifiably so, about the conduct that is alleged here."
In court, Lynde acknowledged killing only a kitten called Bonafide, found with a broken neck in January 2009.
He was initially charged with killing five of the woman's cats and torturing a sixth after moving into her apartment in October 2008.
Three days after his arrival, the first cat was found dead behind a dryer with a broken jaw, a mouth full of laundry detergent and head trauma from being beaten, animal welfare authorities said. Four more cats died of traumatic injuries over the next four months, they said.
Three of them – and a fourth cat that was injured and then disappeared – were kittens the woman adopted after the first two cats died, authorities said.
Lynde and his lawyer didn't comment as they left court.
The 36-year-old Lynde could have faced up to two years in prison if convicted.