‘Stand your ground’ defense rejected in iguana killing – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – A chosen one has turned down the defense of a Florida man who said he hit an iguana to kill on his own after attacking and biting his arm.
PJ Nilaja Patterson, 43, should face trial for animal cruelty, Palm Beach County judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen said not long ago when he denied the bizarre defense, the South Florida SunSentinel reported.
The “stand your ground” legislation allows a person who is at risk of attack and who is fairly afraid of death or personal injury, to use the lethal drive even if he or she could retreat to safety. It has been used in a number of high profile cases since it was introduced 16 years ago. However, this could be the first time the recipient of the deadly drive has been an animal.
Prosecutors say Patterson “wildly beaten, tortured, tortured and killed” the 3 foot (1 meter) tall iguana in a half-hour attack that was captured on surveillance tape. Prosecutor Alexandra Dorman stated that “the iguana posed no real threat to Patterson at any time,” and he “was unjustified in his actions when he kicked this defenseless animal at least 17 times and caused his death.”
Animal rights officials said Patterson tortured the animal, causing it to bite his arm and create a wound that required 22 clamps to close. According to state law, individuals are allowed to kill iguanas, an invasive species, in a quick and humane way. However, an autopsy confirmed that the iguana had a ruptured liver, damaged pelvis and internal bleeding, which were “painful and terrifying” accidents, according to prosecutors.
But Patterson’s public defender Frank Vasconcelos wrote that the iguana was the attacker when he “leaned forward with his mouth wide open and threatening sharp teeth” and attacked Patterson. Patterson was bleeding from his lump and “kicked the iguana as far as he could,” said Vasconcelos.
“Patterson believed the iguana might have injected him with poison, so he hurried to disable the iguana as best he could to preserve its antidote,” wrote Vasconcelos.
Iguanas shouldn’t be poisonous and usually run when a human approaches.
“Any violence Patterson used to avoid greater bodily harm or even death was reasonably justified,” wrote Vasconcelos.
Judge Gillen rejected this argument. Patterson faces up to 5 years in prison if convicted.
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