A Dix Hills man pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing a dog from a church and later beating it so badly it had to be euthanized.
Steven Errante, 27, pleaded guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony. In return, Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn agreed to sentence Errante to 2 years in jail on Nov. 13.
During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Erin Cho, Errante said that on Oct. 25, 2013, he stole the dog -- a Rottweiler-Labrador mix named Beauty -- and brought it to his house.
On Dec. 21 and 22, he said, he clubbed Beauty with an aluminum baseball bat, leaving her with injuries so severe her life could not be saved. Beauty suffered head and facial fractures, a broken leg and internal injuries.
"I was drunk when I did it," Errante said Thursday.
At the end of Cho's questioning, Kahn asked him for his plea and, apparently confused, he said, "Not guilty." He corrected himself and pleaded guilty.
As part of the plea deal, a charge of sexual misconduct was dismissed. The dog was stolen from a fenced pen behind a church near Errante's Deer Park Avenue home, police said.
The plea came after Kahn got a forensic psychiatric report to see whether Errante understood the nature of the proceedings against him. Errante has been in and out of a hospital for unspecified mental health treatment.
As Errante entered the courtroom, Kahn asked his attorney, Mary-Elizabeth Abbate, whether he was ready to go forward.
"He is currently in a state where he understands what is happening," Abbate replied.