U.S. man pleads guilty in beating death of zoo monkey
This booking photo provided by Boise Police Department shows Michael J. Watkins on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP / Boise Police Department)
Published Thursday, March 21, 2013 7:40PM EDT
BOISE, Idaho -- A man charged with beating a monkey to death at Boise, Idaho's zoo last fall has pleaded guilty.
Michael Watkins pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge of attempted grand theft and one misdemeanour count of animal cruelty.
The Idaho Statesman reports the 22-year-old will be sentenced May 16 by 4th District Judge Lynn Norton.
In exchange for his guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed to drop felony charges of grand theft and burglary.
Watkins had initially pleaded not guilty. He had told police the Patas monkey attacked him as he was trying to set it free from Zoo Boise in the early morning hours of Nov. 17. He said he beat the monkey in the head with a tree branch in self-defence.
Authorities alleged Watkins tried to steal the monkey after a night of heavy drinking.