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  • 21 November 2012, 13:42

Zoo Suspect 'Not A Malicious Monkey Murderer'

A 22-year-old man is due in court in Idaho over the death of a patas monkey at Zoo Boise.

Michael J Watkins faces at least two charges for allegedly taking the monkey and beating it so severely that it later died.

His father, Jerry Watkins, has defended his son to the Idaho Statesman, saying he is "not a malicious monkey murderer".

He said it was a drunken prank, that his son was trying to get a picture with the animals.

"I'm thinking the monkey attacked him and he just tried to defend himself," Jerry Watkins said. "I don't think he ever intended to kill it. He's just not that kind of guy."

Authorities allege the suspect entered Zoo Boise on Saturday night, took a patas monkey from its cage and beat it so severely it later died of blunt-force trauma to its head and neck.

A security guard frightened away the intruders, and then discovered the injured animal.

Michael J Watkins went to a local hospital for injuries to his upper body sometime after the incident.

Police say he was visiting Boise with friends over the weekend from his home in Fruitland, about 60 miles away.

Idaho law allows prosecutors to bring a grand theft charge against someone accused of killing livestock or other animals valued at more than $150.

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