ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A man accused of breaking into the St. Augustine Alligator Farm in November and getting bitten by a crocodile during his overnight adventure pleaded no contest Friday to criminal mischief and trespassing.
Brandon Hatfield, 23, was still on crutches, with his left foot in bandages, recovering from a crocodile bite, when he was in court last week.
Hatfield was 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.
At Friday's hearing, Hatfield was sentenced to one year in jail, but credited for 121 days he's been held since his arrest, followed by two years of house arrest. He will also have to pay the Alligator Farm $5,400 in restitution for damages to the property..
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, told News4Jax last year that 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."