A 22-year-old Smithsburg, Md. man has pleaded guilty to the deaths of his ex-girlfriend's four one-week-old kittens, who were tossed into a fire pit after an argument this summer.

Robert Tomlin was found guilty on Monday of aggravated animal cruelty and sentenced to 18 months in jail by Washington County Circuit Judge John McDowell. The sentence was suspended except for the 134 days Tomlin has served since his arrest.

"Taking defenseless animals as you have, and destroying them ... There is no excuse for that," McDowell told Tomlin.

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The judge ordered Tomlin to have no contact with animals or pets during a three-year probation, a mental health evaluation, and a substance abuse evaluation. The judge also ordered Tomlin to have no contact with his former girlfriend Kelli Ann Green, or her family.

Washington County prosecutor Robert Veil said Green had blood on her right ear when police arrived. He said Tomlin had been drinking and Green left after he hit her.

"When she returned to the residence, she heard a hissing in the fire," Veil said and discovered the burning corpses of the small kittens.

"I committed a horrible crime, sir," Tomlin told the court. "You will never see me in this court again."

Green left the courtroom and burst into tears after Tomlin was sentenced.

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