Accused monkey killer pleads not guilty

Credit: Theresa Palmgren/KTVB

Accused monkey killer pleads not guilty

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by KTVB.COM

KTVB.COM

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 5:20 PM

BOISE -- The man accused of breaking into Zoo Boise in November and killing a patas monkey has entered a plea of not guilty to charges of burglary, grand theft, and falsifying information to a police officer.

Michael Watkins entered his plea before an Ada County judge Thursday morning. He's now scheduled for a jury trial on May 13, 2013.

Watkins was last arraigned earlier this January on his latest charge -- providing false information to a police officer. Watkins had already been charged with burglary and grand theft.

Prosecutors say on Nov. 17, 2012, Watkins broke into Zoo Boise with the intent of stealing a monkey, but the monkey fought back. Prosecutors say Watkins beat the animal in the head with a tree branch, and it later died.

Watkins' attorney has maintained that Watkins was defending himself against the monkey. The defense says Watkins had been drinking and wandering around Julia Davis Park when he found himself in Zoo Boise's patas monkey exhibit.

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