(WHDH) — An inmate accused of stealing a car is facing additional charges after authorities say he fed pet iguanas to an alligator at a petting zoo inside the jail he was incarcerated at.
Jason Aaron Gibson, 40, of Key West, Florida, was charged with two counts causing cruel death, pain, and suffering to conservation animals after fellow inmates ratted him out for allegedly tossing two iguanas at “Irwin” the alligator, one of which was devoured, according to the Miami Herald.
The inmates who witnessed the act reportedly came forward because they were “distraught” and “heartbroken” by what they had seen.
Jeanne Selander, a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office staffer who looks after the animals at the petting zoo, told the newspaper that Irwin ate a large male iguana named “Mojo.” Mojo had been at the jail for 13 years.
“He was here when I took over the farm,” Selander said. “That’s why we named him. He was more of a pet.”
Instead of eating Mojo, Irwin reportedly killed him and left his dead carcass on display in the zoo.
Inmate Mark Morales told deputies that Irwin held Mojo underwater for about 30 minutes.
Gibson, who was being held since the summer, allegedly confessed to the incident and claimed thought the iguanas were “terrorizing” other animals when he was arrested on Monday.
Inmate Myles Tafel also said that he tried to stop Gibson from throwing another iguana into the alligator pen last month but was reportedly told to “stop being a soft heart.”
The petting zoo is said to be home to more than 150 animals.
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