A 22-year-old Idaho man will spend up to seven years in prison for killing a zoo monkey last fall. Authorities say Michael Watkins jumped a fence and broke into Zoo Boise on November 17, and worked his way inside the primate building. He then got into a monkey cage, where he chased around a Patas monkey and eventually beat it to death. According to a companion who was not identified, Watkins tried to throw his coat over the monkey and leave with it when the animal bit him. He left the dying monkey behind when a security guard spotted him.
Watkins was convicted of felony grand theft and misdemeanor animal cruelty. He must serve at least two years before becoming eligible for parole. While in prison, Watkins will undergo a treatment plan called the Rider Program which provides alternative sentencing options if completed successfully. He must also pay a $1,000 fine.