Monkey killer gets 7 years

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   May 17, 2013 at 3:14 PM   |   Comments

May 17 (UPI) -- A man who broke into an Idaho zoo and killed a monkey in November was sentenced Thursday to serve seven years in prison.

Michael Watkins, 22, pleaded guilty to felony grand theft and misdemeanor animal cruelty and will serve at least two years before he is eligible for parole, KTVB 7 reported. If he completes a Rider program, he could spend up to five years of his sentence in supervised probation.

Judge Lynn Norton called Watkins' actions immature, and his drunkenness was no excuse for his decisions.

"I know that my actions were selfish, and they impacted both Zoo Boise and the public, and Boise itself," Watkins told the court before his sentencing. "And, I just would like to formally apologize to all involved, and all that my actions affected."

His attorney called the crime a stupid prank that went from bad to worse.

Watkins broke in to Zoo Boise the night of November 17. He attempted to steal the 2-foot-tall Patas monkey, which bit him. He then kicked and hit the animal with a tree branch, and it later died from its injuries.

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