Shark dragging trial moved to September

Shark dragging trial moved to September
Robert "Bo" Benac

Updated July 23, 2019 – TAMPA – Robert “Bo” Benac is now scheduled to stand trial on Monday, Sept. 16 for his alleged role in a much-publicized shark dragging incident captured on video in 2017.

The trial will be held at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa.

Benac faces two third-degree felony charges of aggravated cruelty to animals for allegedly using a spear gun to shoot a black-tipped shark and a second-degree misdemeanor charge of violating rules relating to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Benac was previously scheduled to stand trial in June, but his trial date was delayed. Benac was among a group of local men captured on self-shot video footage that showed the shark being dragged behind a powerboat at a high rate of speed on June 26, 2017.

The criminal affidavit report filed in December 2017 referenced additional video footage that alleged Michael Wentzel shot a shark with a .38 caliber handgun. The Florida Administrative Code prohibits harvesting a shark using any other means than a hook and a line.

Video footage of Benac’s alleged shark shooting incident recently appeared on several news organization websites and Facebook feeds.

In February, co-defendant Wenzel reached a plea deal with the State Attorney’s Office after he elected not to stand trial for his role in the alleged events.

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