Austin man who beat turtle to death in viral video gets probation


Highlights

Man gets felony conviction, 200 community service hours and four years of probation.

June 2016 incident was captured on video by people walking on trails adjacent to Lady Bird Lake.

A man caught on camera beating a turtle to death with a hammer along Austin’s hike-and-bike trail in what became a viral video of the crime has pleaded guilty and will serve four years probation, according to prosecutors and court records.

Watch the video

Terry Wayne Washington, 56, must abide several terms during the next four years, or he risks having his probation revoked. They include:

• No pet ownership for the next four years.

• He must stay at least 500 yards from Lady Bird Lake while on probation.

• Washington must also perform 200 hours of community service.

• He must pay a $200 fine.

“When it comes to animal cruelty, we thought it was important to sustain a felony conviction,” said Jessica Huyhn, a Travis County assistant district attorney who handled the case. “Having that on-going supervision was critical in plea negotiations for our office.”

According to an arrest affidavit, joggers stopped to see what was happening and first thought Washington was trying to reel in a large fish.

“The witnesses stated that the turtle was not attacking the fisherman and appeared to be just trying to escape and return back to the water,” the document said.

The June 2016 incident was captured by visitors to the trail and shared worldwide on-line. Publications such as the Washington Post also wrote about it.

Washington’s plea to a charge of “cruelty to non-livestock animals: torture” came quietly in Travis County court last month.

Washington confessed to killing the animal two days after the incident and turned himself in.

Washington claimed he beat the turtle in self-defense. The reptile had lunged at him, he said, according to the affidavit. He acknowledged to police he had made no effort to cut the line or unhook the turtle. Police countered that the witness accounts dispute the claims of self-defense.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Community news: Learning day Tuesday at Barton Springs Pool

TRAVIS COUNTY SOUTH AUSTIN Learning day at Barton Springs Barton Springs University will host a day of outdoor science activities and swimming from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday at Barton Springs Pool, 2201 Barton Springs Road. The free event will include learning sessions with scientists, water policy experts and professionals at five different venues...
Traffic report for Sept. 25, 2017

Interstate 35 (Hays County): Northbound Exit 213 for RM 150-Center Street will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday as needed. The inside lane on the southbound access road will be closed between RM 150-Center Street and Yarrington Road from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The inside lane on the northbound access road will...
Who will pay for MoPac cost overruns? Agency, contractor deal in sight
Who will pay for MoPac cost overruns? Agency, contractor deal in sight

They’ve butted heads and talked of lawsuits as the MoPac Boulevard toll lane construction project has dragged on two years beyond its target completion date. Now the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and its toll project contractor appear to be near a financial settlement. The mobility authority board, in a specially called meeting scheduled...
State GOP raises concerns over George P. Bush’s Alamo stewardship
State GOP raises concerns over George P. Bush’s Alamo stewardship

Texas Republican Party leaders expressed concern Saturday that Land Commissioner George P. Bush’s leadership of the effort to restore and “reimagine” the Alamo is lacking in transparency and a singular focus on the 1836 battle that makes the historic site in downtown San Antonio the most sacred shrine in Texas. In a 57-1 vote, the...
TRIB FEST DIGEST: Comptroller says Harvey won’t hamper Texas economy
TRIB FEST DIGEST: Comptroller says Harvey won’t hamper Texas economy

HURRICANE HARVEY Comptroller says Harvey won’t hamper Texas economy for long Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar was hesitant to give an estimate Saturday of how much Hurricane Harvey will cost the state, but he said the federal government will pick up most of the bill. Hegar, speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival, said Harvey’s state recovery...
More Stories