Last September, surveillance video captured PJ Nilaja Patterson’s savage and fatal attack on an iguana. While Florida law allows people to kill the invasive species in a quick and humane manner, Patterson’s half-hour attack left the iguana with a lacerated liver, a broken pelvis, and internal bleeding.
Patterson was charged with animal cruelty, but said he only beat the iguana after it bit him in the arm. Patterson’s attorney attempted to use the “stand your ground” defense, but Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen rejected this defense and ruled today that Patterson must stand trial on a felony animal cruelty charge
Adopted 16 years ago, Florida’s “stand your ground law” states, “A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
While the “stand your ground” law has proven successful in some high-profile cases in the past, prosecutors say Patterson “savagely beat, tormented, tortured, and killed” the iguana. If convicted, Patterson could spend five years in prison.
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