Taylor Martin, Seth Stephenson: Manatee harassers plead guilty after YouTube video

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Two men seen on a YouTube video harassing manatees in Brevard County last year admitted to their crime in court Thursday and pleaded guilty.

"Jump, jump," the men were heard daring each other before laughing -- the video then shows the men jumping onto the sea cows, which are a protected species.

Taylor Martin, 22, said he is the man seen jumping on a manatee in the video.

"I was in a video and I jumped on a manatee. On that day, I wasn’t thinking. It wasn’t my best moment," he said in court.

Seth Stephenson, 22, said he also participated.

"I was there with a hose to lure the manatee close to the dock," he said

The two were not sentenced Thursday but they both agreed to two years probation.  Martin would also serve 175 hours of community service and pay a $5,000 fine. Stephenson would pay a $3,500 fine.

However, the court magistrate reminded the two that he does not have to accept that recommendation at time of sentencing.

The maximum penalty for the second-degree misdemeanor is a year in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Protection of manatees is of particular concern in Brevard County, where roughly 120 have died off in the Indian River Lagoon in the past year. The cause is unclear.

No sentencing date for the two men has been set.


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