A Weiser man, charged with the November 2012 brutal beating death of a Patas monkey at Zoo Boise, pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge of attempted grand theft and a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty. Prosecutors said they were prepared to drop other felony charges of grand theft and burglary in exchange for the guilty plea.
When 22-year-old Michael Watkins is sentenced Thursday, May 16, he faces a possibile seven years in prison for the attempted grand theft charge and six months for the animal cruelty charge.
According to court records, prosecutors alleged Watkins jumped a fence at Zoo Boise and manipulated a lock to get inside the primate building and the monkey cage.
An unidentified companion allegedly told authorities that Watkins chased the monkey and tried to throw a coat over the animal, and that Watkins was bitten by the monkey. The man said he also heard a loud bang shortly before he saw Watkins carrying the monkey in his coat.
A zoo security guard reportedly scared the two men off a short time later, and the monkey was left behind. Zoo officials said the monkey suffered blunt force trauma to the head and died of the injuries shortly thereafter.