Saturday, July 26, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 9 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Official: Man killed zoo monkey during theft try

By John Miller

Associated Press


BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A 22-year-old man clubbed a monkey to death with a tree branch, after he was bitten during an animal theft from a Boise zoo that went awry, prosecutors allege.

Michael J. Watkins entered Zoo Boise on Saturday morning, manipulated a lock to get into the primate enclosure and removed the patas monkey by wrapping it in his jacket, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Fafa Alidjani told reporters after Watkins was arraigned in Boise's 4th District Court.

"He told police he was going to throw the monkey outside the fence," Alidjani said Wednesday. When he failed, the monkey bit him, prompting Watkins to use a tree branch to bash the monkey in the head and neck, she said.

A security guard spotted the intruder, who ran, and the animal died a short time after it was found by zoo officials.

Watkins isn't scheduled to enter a plea on his felony burglary and grand theft charges until a preliminary hearing Dec. 5.

If he's convicted, Watkins faces up to 10 years in prison for the burglary charge and 14 years in prison for the grand theft charge. Idaho law allows prosecutors to bring a grand theft charge against someone accused of killing livestock or other animals valued at more than $150 dollars.

Judge Henry Boomer refused a bid by Watkins' public defender, Gary Reedy, to reduce bail from $150,000 to $10,000.

Alidjani had argued that the bail shouldn't be reduced because Watkins has a history of drug and drunken driving arrests and probation violations.

"Say no more," Boomer told her. "I'm denying the request."

Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson has said he doesn't expect others to be charged in the case, but Watkins' lawyer suggested to the judge that at least one other individual entered the zoo with Watkins.

"They opened a door and the monkey was released," Reedy said, using "they" repeatedly. "There was a scuffle. The monkey was injured."

Watkins broke into the zoo after a night of grief-fueled drinking, Reedy said: An aunt had recently died, and Watkins' grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer only days before. So he went into Boise for a night out with friends and family.

"He was taking it very hard," Reedy said. "He became intoxicated."

Watkins, who over the grainy courthouse video system used for arraignments appeared to have a bandage on his right hand, spoke clearly when Boomer questioned him about his ability to pay for an attorney.

He told the judge he didn't own property or a car and had left a job working at a Progresso Soup factory in the region about a month ago, though he was due to begin work at another factory job two days after the zoo incident.

"I was a general laborer," he said, describing his work at the soup factory. "I bagged onions."

Watkins' girlfriend gave birth to his son about four weeks ago.

Watkins' stepmother, Susan Watkins, told the Idaho Statesman on Tuesday that he did well at Fruitland High School before graduating in 2008, even volunteering to help children in the summer.

"He was a good kid. He's my baby. I love him," she said.

His father, Jerry Watkins, said he can't believe his son entered the zoo wanting to do the monkey harm.

"He's not a malicious monkey murderer," Watkins said. "I'm thinking the monkey attacked him and he just tried to defend himself. I don't think he ever intended to kill it; he's just not that kind of guy."

More From The Star-Advertiser

Father defends suspect in Idaho monkey death

 Print   Email   Comment | View 9 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
Recce wrote:
on November 22,2012 | 03:16AM
honopic wrote:
Good one! I feel sorry for the 4-week-old boy who will grow up without a father and when he's old enough to ask why, will find out what a loser Watkins is. He threw his life away with drug and DUI arrests, probation violations, getting drunk and trying to steal a monkey, then killing it when it defended itself. All this by the age of 22. What chance does that boy have for a normal life?
on November 22,2012 | 07:15AM
aomohoa wrote:
on November 22,2012 | 06:09PM
Macadamiamac wrote:
LOL! Fanned!
on November 22,2012 | 08:38AM
Ripoff wrote:
Charge him with murder...we are all monkeys lol
on November 22,2012 | 08:02AM
Meleana22 wrote:
How proud these parents are of their "wonderful" drunken, thieving, murderous, loser son.... Pathetic. Now that prince charming is going to jail I wonder who will end up supporting his illegitimate new child which his girlfriend gave birth to 4 weeks ago...?
on November 22,2012 | 08:26AM
aomohoa wrote:
He a loser, his parents are losers and that baby doesn't have much a chance.
on November 22,2012 | 06:12PM
aomohoa wrote:
Parents are losers too! That is concerning for the third generation. This young man needs to be sterilized before he does any more damage to society.
on November 22,2012 | 06:12PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Too bad he didn't try to steal a baboon. The baboon would have killed him.
on November 22,2012 | 08:37PM
Breaking News
Volley Shots
Fey, Enriques on MJNT

Political Radar
Wilhelmina Rise, et al.

Court Sense
Cold War

Political Radar
Climate change

Island Crafters

Warrior Beat
Empty pit

Political Radar

Political Radar
`Progressive hero’