ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A man accused of breaking into the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, and who police said was bitten by a crocodile while inside the park, was back in St. Johns County court Wednesday.
Brandon Hatfield was still on crutches, with his left foot in bandages, when he signed a form to delay his hearing until 1:30 p.m. Jan. 25.
Hatfield, 23, is charged with criminal mischief and trespassing, according to St. Johns County court records.
He has entered a plea of not guilty, court records show.
His mother, Corrine Hatfield, couldn't be in court Wednesday, but spoke with News4Jax by phone. She said she hasn't spoken with her son in weeks, but said his foot has been healing.
"Slowly, but surely, it's healing," Hatfield's mother said. "But he's got to pay his debt just like everyone else when they get in trouble."
Hatfield is accused of jumping into an exhibit that houses three 12-foot Nile crocodiles during the several hours he spent inside the reptile facility in November. Authorities said he caused more than $5,000 in damage to the property while inside.
John Brueggen, director of the Alligator Farm, said the man was caught on surveillance video the evening of Nov. 5 wandering around the park and then jumping off a roof into the Oasis on the Nile exhibit.
He eventually got out, and St. Augustine police said they found Hatfield the morning of Nov. 6 in a neighborhood about a half-mile north of the Alligator Farm.
Hatfield's mother, who lives in Clay County where he's from, said her son fell in with the wrong crowd in Green Cove Springs and that led him to all of this.
"It just happened. When he turned 18, he moved out," she said. "So, when you turn 18, they think they’re adults and move out and live the way they live and they get in trouble."
Hatfield remains in the St. Johns County jail, where he's being held without bond, according to online jail records.