Some charges dismissed after man charged in Dallas Zoo caper is found incompetent to stand trial

Animal cruelty charges have been dropped against a 25-year-old man accused of taking two monkeys from the Dallas Zoo after he was found incompetent to stand trial

Jamie Stengle
Friday 09 February 2024 22:39 GMT
Dallas Zoo Missing Animals
Dallas Zoo Missing Animals

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Louise Thomas

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Animal cruelty charges were dropped this week against a 25-year-old man accused of taking two monkeys from the Dallas Zoo after he was found incompetent to stand trial, but he remains in custody and still faces two burglary charges related to what had been mysterious incidents there last year.

Davion Irvin has been ordered to a state hospital and currently remains incompetent to stand trial, according to court filings. Prosecutors said in the Monday filings that they were dismissing six misdemeanor animal cruelty charges against Irvin because he'd already spent the maximum amount of time allowed in jail for the punishment on those charges.

The Dallas County district attorney’s office said Friday that because a year had passed and his competency hadn’t been restored, prosecutors were by law required to dismiss the misdemeanor cases.

Irvin still faces two felony burglary charges, one related to taking the monkeys and one related to the escape of a clouded leopard named Nova.

Irvin was arrested last February after an odd span of events that began weeks earlier when zoo workers discovered that Nova's enclosure was cut and she was missing. After a search that closed the zoo, Nova was found later that day near her habitat. On the same day, a similar cut was found in an enclosure for langur monkeys but none had gotten out.

About two weeks later, two emperor tamarin monkeys named Bella and Finn went missing from their enclosure. Dallas police released a photo and video of a man they wanted to talk to in the case, later identified as Irvin. Those images prompted a tip that led police to a vacant home where Bella and Finn were found.

Irvin was arrested two days later after he was asking questions about animals at a Dallas aquarium and a worker recognized him. After his arrest, Irvin told police that he loved animals and that if released from jail, he would steal more, according to an arrest affidavit.

About a week after Nova's escape, a vulture named Pin was found dead. Police hadn't linked Irvin to Pin's death, and on Friday the zoo said that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had determined the punctures and lacerations on Pin's back were consistent with a predator, possibly a feline.

Dallas County jail records showed that Irvin remained in custody Friday. Attorneys for Irvin did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

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