INDIANTOWN, Fla. - Three men and a teenage girl are facing criminal charges for their involvement in cutting off an alligator's tail and leaving the animal alive in the water, according to a Martin County Sheriff's Office arrest report.
Deputies on Sunday charged Robert Lee Chason, 22, of the 2600 block of Southwest Martin Avenue, Palm City, and James Hataway, 38, of the 800 block of Southwest 34th Terrace in Palm City, with armed trespassing, possession of American alligator. Joe Chason, 24, of the same address, and a teenage girl, who was not identified in the report, were both charged with trespassing. Hataway faces additional charges of tampering with evidence, illegal method of taking an alligator and other charges.
About 5:11 p.m. Sunday, deputies stopped a pickup on Southwest Citrus Boulevard after receiving reports that occupants in a pickup were trespassing on private property. Before stopping the truck, deputies saw a recently cut alligator in the middle of the road.
While questioning the men, Robert Chason admitted to shooting an alligator and said Hataway threw the tail out of the window. Deputies noticed blood was on Robert Chason's legs, the truck's bed and passenger side, the report states.
About two miles south of where the men were stopped, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers on the east side of Canal D saw a large alligator that was missing its tail sticking its head out of the water, the report states.
FWC officers euthanized the animal to keep it from suffering, the report states.
On Monday, Robert Chason was released from the Martin County Jail on $5,250 bail, while his brother Joe Chason was released on $500 bail and Hataway on $8,000 bail. The girl was released to her father's custody on Sunday.
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