by Andrew Crisp
This morning, 22-year-old Michael Watkins, accused of a Nov. 17 break-in at Zoo Boise and the death of a Patas monkey at the facility, was arraigned at Ada County Courthouse with the help of a court-appointed public defender.
Flanked by law enforcement from Ada County Sheriff's Office, wearing an orange striped jumpsuit and hand and foot shackles, Watkins made his way to the defendant's table to appear before 4th District Court Judge Lynn Norton.
"You're accused of three crimes," Norton told Watkins. "The first is burglary, that you entered a building, the monkey exhibit, at Zoo Boise."
Norton informed Watkins of the maximum and minimum penalties carried should he be convicted of the crimes. The burglary count carries a one-year minimum prison term, and up to 10 years in prison, with a $50,000 fine. Attempting to steal the Patas monkey, according to Norton, constituted felony grand theft and could mean a 14-year maximum sentence and a hefty fine. Watkins was also accused of misdemeanor providing false information to an officer, which carries a $1,000 fine and/or one year in jail.
Without issuing a plea, Watkins' attorney and Judge Norton scheduled a return to the court Thursday, Jan. 31, at 9 a.m.