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'Stand your ground' immunity rejected in iguana killing

Prosecutors say surveillance video shows a man attacking a 3-foot lizard and kicking it repeatedly during a half-hour assault.
Credit: FWC photo by Carol Lyn Parrish

LAKE WORTH, Fla — A judge has rejected the “stand your ground” immunity for a Florida man who said he beat an iguana to death only after it attacked him.

A Palm Beach County judge says 43-year-old PJ Nilaja Patterson must stand trial on a felony animal cruelty charge. 

Patterson had claimed that the iguana bit his arm in an attack, causing a wound that required 22 staples to close. But prosecutors say surveillance video shows Patterson attacking the 3-foot lizard, kicking it repeatedly during a half-hour assault in September.

Prosecutors say the animal bit Patterson in self-defense. Paterson could get five years if convicted.

Florida law allows people to kill iguanas only if it is done humanely. Nothing is clearly off-limits so long as the animal doesn't suffer.  

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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