Case closed. Dr. Walter Palmer won’t be charged for killing Cecil the Lion, Reuters reports. After a three-month investigation, Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri announced the news to reporters on Monday, Oct. 12.
“We approached the police and then the Prosecutor General,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said, “and it turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order.”
Palmer, a dentist, came under fire and a heap of scrutiny in July when he paid $50,000 to slaughter the beloved animal. Palmer lured Cecil — who was being studied by Oxford University at the time — outside a national park, shot him with a crossbow, and beheaded him after a 40-hour hunt.
As previously reported, Palmer returned to work last month in Bloomington, Minn., after temporarily closing his practice — but has been forced to relive his actions. Those disturbed by Cecil’s death made a memorial for the 13-year-old lion outside Palmer’s dental office and left messages on his door. Some notes read “May you never hunt again” and “Justice for Cecil #extradition.”
“I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” Palmer wrote to his patients at the time. “That was never my intention.” (Some celebs outraged by the incident included Jimmy Kimmel, Larry Wilmore, Betty White, Ricky Gervais, Sharon Osbourne, and Miranda Lambert.)
Palmer may be off the hook for the slaying, but two other people — including guide Theo Bronkhorst — are still facing charges. According to Reuters, prosecutors may even be told to bring Cecil’s head to court as evidence if the case is brought to trial.
“The fact is the law was broken,” Johnny Rodrigues, the head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said Monday. “We are going to get our advocates in America to actually see what they can do to bring justice to him.”
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