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Man pleads guilty in death of monkey at Boise zoo

Published On: Mar 22 2013 07:15:03 AM MDT
BOISE, Idaho -

A man charged with beating a monkey to death at Boise, Idaho's zoo last fall has pleaded guilty.
Michael Watkins, of Weiser, pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge of attempted grand theft and one misdemeanor 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, Ada County 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-defense.
Authorities alleged Watkins tried to steal the monkey after a night of heavy drinking.