COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A South Side teen has been sentenced to three years in prison for pouring scalding water on a cat in a Facebook video.
Leon Teague, 18, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of animal torture, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison, court records show, and a boot-camp alternative program was recommended.
Teague first made headlines in February when he posted a video of himself boiling water and dumping it on a cat outside his Greater Grand Crossing home.
The cat, later named Driver, was taken in by Edgewater's Felines & Canines Shelter. Driver needed laser treatments and surgeries, the shelter said, and it was initially unclear whether all his hair would grow back.
The shelter on Monday posted on Facebook that Teague's sentence "is a massive win for the animals that sends an unwavering message to the public that animal abuse will NOT be tolerated in our city."
Heather Weidmann, the founder of Whiskers and Tails Rescue Foundation who helped catch Driver earlier this year, said she attended each of Teague's court hearings.
"I'll never forget [the cat's] screams," Weidmann said, recalling the day she caught Driver. "You couldn't touch him, and those screams are permanently implanted in my head. This [3-year-sentence] was a big step for Cook County. It was a step for the animals because most cases get thrown out. Maybe this will set a precedent not to do that."
According to Weidmann, Driver is doing well and has been adopted by a local family: "He has no ill feelings toward humans at all. He still loves humans; he loves dogs. He's just amazing."
Teague was arrested Feb. 4 after police identified him through Facebook with the help of animal-rights activists, court records show. The video had been posted under the alias "Glock Boy Murdoc."
The video depicts a man boiling water and tossing it on a cat that had been lured to a porch window. The cat then howls and runs off the porch, prosecutors said. Teague admitted to police that he posted the video.
"The video was a cat that somebody poured water on," Teague said, according to an arrest report. "If you think I did it, lock me up. S---. I know the system. If I admit to this, I'm going to jail. Glock Boy Murdoc is my Facebook name, and people come in and out of my apartment all the time."
Police said Teague's voice matched the male voice taunting the cat in the video. A man's arm is visible, but viewers cannot see the abuser's face.
Driver needed laser treatments and surgeries, and it was initially unclear whether all his hair would grow back. Credit: Facebook/FelinesAndCanines
Driver is healing well. Credit: Facebook/FelinesAndCanines
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