New video appears to show man in shark-dragging case shooting shark

Credit: Fgyongyver/Pixabay

Credit: Fgyongyver/Pixabay

New video has surfaced that appears to show one of three Florida men accused of animal cruelty shooting a gun at a shark as it's dragged behind a boat, just ahead of one man's trial.

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Robert Benac, Spencer Heintz and Michael Wenzel recorded video in the summer of 2017 as they boated in the Gulf of Mexico showing a shark hooked on their fishing line being dragged at a high speed behind the boat, Bay News 9 reported. The three men were each charged with animal cruelty.

The new video appears to show Wenzel shooting the shark several times while those on the boat cheer him on, according to The Bradenton Herald. It's unclear if the shark in the new video is the same shark from the original video.

Benac is the only person charged whose case hasn't been resolved. He declined a plea deal and his trial is scheduled for September.

Charges against Heintz were dropped. Wenzel pleaded guilty to a first degree misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty and breaking fish and wildlife rules. He spent 10 days in jail and paid a $2,500 fine.

Benac's defense attorney, Justin Petredis, said Benac was not an active participant in the dragging and the shark was already dead before it was dragged.

"We'll do our best to show the whole picture," Petredis said in May. "And show what my client did and did not do and show that we don't believe he committed any crimes."

It's unclear how the new video will affect Benac's trial. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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