Man Who Killed Zoo Boise Monkey Sentenced to 7 Years, Rider Program

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Michael Watkins was sentenced to seven years in prison for the November 2012 beating death of a Zoo Boise monkey.
  • Michael Watkins was sentenced to seven years in prison for the November 2012 beating death of a Zoo Boise monkey.

Following a plea deal where prosecutors dropped felony charges of grand theft and burglary, 22-year-old Michael Watkins—the Weiser man charged with the November 2012 beating death of a Patas monkey at Zoo Boise—was sentenced this morning to a seven-year prison sentence and a $1,000 fine for a guilty plea of attempted grand theft and animal cruelty.

Judge Lynn Norton also placed Watkins on a so-called "rider," meaning that Watkins will first serve a 120-day treatment program after which, if he is successful, he could be eligible for release. If Watkins is not successful in the rider program, he would not be eligible for parole for at least two years.

"I know that my actions were selfish, and they impacted both Zoo Boise and the public, and Boise itself," Watkins told the courtroom this morning. "I just would like to formally apologize to all involved, and all that my actions affected."

Prosecutors said Watkins jumped a fence at Zoo Boise last November 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.