Ada County prosecutors say 22-year-old Michael Watkins admits to breaking into Zoo Boise in the early morning hours of Nov. 17, but in a probable cause hearing, Watkins said he "acted in self-defense" when he struck traumatic blows to a Patas monkey, which ultimately killed the animal.
In a hearing where Watkins was charged with felony counts of grand theft and burglary, he also blamed the incident on another man, who, as of Wednesday afternoon, has not been charged by Boise Police. The other man, still unidentified by law enforcement, told Boise Police that he was with Watkins shortly before 4 a.m. on Nov. 17, when Watkins suggested they steal a monkey from the zoo.
According to the unidentified companion, Watkins jumped a fence, broke into the primate building, chased the monkey and tried to throw a coat over the animal. The other man said Watkins was bitten by the monkey. The man said he also heard a loud bang shortly before he saw Watkins carrying the monkey in his coat. A security guard scared the two men off a short time later, when the monkey was left behind. Zoo officials said the monkey died of the traumatic blows shortly thereafter.
Court records also indicated that Watkins manipulated a lock to get inside the primate building and the monkey cage.
Watkins remains at the Ada County Jail, where he was transferred late Tuesday. He is being held on a $150,000 bond.