November 21, 2012 in City

Suspect in monkey’s death has previous arrest record

Associated Press
 

BOISE – A 22-year-old man who police say killed a monkey after breaking into the Boise zoo has encountered run-ins with the law in the last three years that include a pair of drug arrests and a conviction for driving drunk.

A day after Michael J. Watkins’ arrest, authorities attempted to answer what may have prompted the once-promising wrestler from western Idaho to enter the facility early Saturday and what he planned to do with the animal, officials said.

Members of the community and Watkins’ family also were trying to determine what could have led to the attack and why someone would do such a thing. His mother, Susan Watkins, said in a brief interview Tuesday from her home in McCall that as much as the public is perplexed by what happened, “I am too. That’s all I can say.”

Authorities allege the suspect entered Zoo Boise, took a patas monkey from its cage, and beat it so severely it later died of head and neck injuries. He faces an arraignment hearing today in 4th District Court, where authorities say they’ll charge him with at least two felonies: burglary, for allegedly breaking into Zoo Boise, and grand theft, for taking and killing the monkey.

Arrested Monday, Watkins is to be moved from a county jail in Washington County to a detention facility in Ada County in Boise on Tuesday.

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.

Police don’t plan to charge a second man who was with Watkins Saturday morning, but apparently never entered the zoo.

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