Man Allegedly Beats Turtle To Death With Hammer, Claims Self-Defense

The reptile's shell was broken and its head crushed.

A Texas man accused of beating a turtle to death with a hammer told officers he did so in self-defense, according to a police affidavit.

Terry Washington, 55, was arrested after a graphic video appeared to show him bludgeoning the wild snapping turtle by the side of Austin’s Lady Bird Lake on June 21. The passerby who shot the video, Geoffrey Frank, told news station KXAN at the time that after repeatedly whacking the turtle, the man dragged the reptile up the road and left it there.

Police charged Washington Tuesday with cruelty to a non-livestock animal, a felony offense.

News station WLTX reported that after the video was submitted to law enforcement, someone tipped off the Game Warden’s office and identified Washington as the man on camera. 

Washington confessed to police that he killed the turtle in self-defense, according to a police affidavit that KVUE obtained. He said he was fishing at the lake when the turtle lunged at him and tried to bite him, police allege.

The turtle’s head was crushed and its shell broken, police told Fox 7.

Washington is in jail on a $5,000 bond.