A Texas man who was cited for allegedly smashing a live turtle to death last month now says he did it in self-defense, according to police.
Terry Washington, 55, has been charged with a felony in connection to the alleged June incident, which horrified bystanders as well as the internet after a witness posted the graphic footage.
In the newly revealed arrest affidavit, officials said Washington told them he’d acted in self-defense upon turning himself in June 23.
Two days earlier, witnesses reported that Washington was among a group of fishermen on the banks of Lady Bird Lake when he caught something that turned out not to be a fish.
As they reeled in what turned out to be a 40-pound common snapping turtle, a man near Washington tried to unhook the reptile with the forked end of a hammer, witnesses said.
But while the other man tried to help the turtle, witnesses said Washington tried to hurt it as he grabbed the hammer and beat the turtle with the blunt end as witnesses said it tried to flee back into the water, according to KXAN.
Upon turning himself in after footage of the turtle-hammering went viral, the affidavit says Washington told authorities he feared for his safety because the creature — which was more than two feet long — lunged at him and his friend.
Washington was charged on Tuesday with cruelty to a non-livestock animal, a felony.
He was also cited for hunting without a license and for improper disposal of a carcass.