Man seen killing a turtle with a hammer claims self-defense

55-year-old Terry Washington, who was caught on video killing a turtle with a hammer on Lady Bird Lake in front of a crowd on June 21, has been charged with Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals.

According to police, witnesses said Washington was seen fishing on the lake when he reeled in a snapping turtle, the turtle was later measured 27 inches by 15 inches and weighed about 40 pounds.

Another man, later identified as a friend of Washington's, used a hammer to pull the turtle to shore however Washington took the hammer from the man and began hitting the turtle, which was still hooked with the fishing line, with the blunt end of the hammer. Witnesses told police the turtle was trying to return to the water.

Police said Washington hit the turtle more than 10 times, breaking its shell, and crushing in its head before dragging the dead turtle under a bridge and leaving the scene.

Washington later confessed to killing the turtle but told police he did so in self-defense because he was scared after he says the turtle tried to lunge and bite him multiple times.

Washington's bond was set at $5,000.

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