No Criminal Charges in Shocking Chimpanzee Mauling

December 7, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Charla Nash, 56, woke up on Monday, Feb. 16 like any other day, completely unaware that her life was about to change forever. Her long-time friend and employer, Sandra Herold, 71, phoned Nash to help her move Herold’s 200 pound pet chimpanzee back into her house. When Nash arrived, the 14-year old chimp named Travis, went berserk and savagely mauled Nash.

Despite the horrific nature of the attack and the lack of a permit to keep the animal, David Cohen the State’s Attorney for Connecticut, will not be pressing criminal charges against Herold for recklessness.

The chimp was also given Xanax before Nash arrived, but there was no evidence that the drug contributed to the attack. “Although Xanax was detected, it is impossible to state whether that had any effect and, if so, what,” Cohen said.

In his press conference on Monday explaining his decision not to press charges, Cohen said that the facts of the horrific incident did not rise to the level of a crime, because there was no evidence that the chimp’s owner knew of the risk to others and ignored it:

“It is therefore my determination based on the evidence presented at this time that no criminal prosecution is warranted in this case,” Cohen said. “This doesn’t in any way minimize the horror that we all feel with what occurred and the horrendous injuries suffered by Ms. Nash,” said Cohen during his press conference in North Stamford today.

Nash’s family is suing Herold for $50 million and plans to sue the state for $150 million. Charles Willinger, an attorney for the victim’s family said Nash was at peace with the decision not to file criminal charges.

Nash remains in the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio recovering from her severe injuries. The chimpanzee tore off her hands, eyelids, lips and nose. Nash is blind and suffers from brain damage. She has no memory of the attack. The police shot and killed Travis the chimp when they arrived on the scene.

She appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” last month, allowing the world a glimpse of her mauled face.


Photo Source: AP Photo/The Stamford Advocate, Kathleen O’Rourke


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