Man denies charges in monkey’s death at Idaho zoo

BOISE, Idaho — A 22-year-old Weiser man charged with breaking in to Zoo Boise and killing a Patas monkey has denied several charges.

Michael Jacob Watkins pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony burglary and grand theft and misdemeanor giving false information.

A jury trial is scheduled to begin on May 13 before 4th District Judge Lynn Norton.

Court records said Watkins told Boise police the monkey attacked him while he was trying to set it free early on Nov. 17 and he beat it in the head with a tree branch in self-defense. Ada County prosecutors said a friend told investigators he was with Watkins and that Watkins was trying to steal the animal when he broke into the zoo.

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