GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- A Clay County judge has lowered the bond for the teen who made national headlines last month after authorities say she was caught on video torturing and killing a state-protected tortoise.
The bond amount for Jennifer Emoke Greene, who pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges, was dropped from $55,000 to $5,300 following pleas from Greene's aunt in court Wednesday morning.
Greene, 18, and a 15-year-old girl, both of Orange Park, were arrested after an investigation by Florida wildlife officials into a video that appears to show the two teens lighting a gopher tortoise on fire and crushing it to death.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission launched an investigation after the video went viral, triggering a groundswell of backlash online. More than 12,000 people signed a petition on Change.org urging authorities to bring charges against the teens.
Greene and the unidentified teen face felony charges of animal cruelty and misdemeanor charges of killing a gopher tortoise, a threatened species protected by Florida law.
Two videos that surfaced on Facebook July 15 allegedly show the pair laughing while dousing the creature in alcohol and setting it on fire as it tries in vain to run away before one of the teens appears to stomp it death.
"We take these issues very seriously," said Col. Calvin Adams, director of FWC's Division of Law Enforcement. "We appreciated the help from the public and our partners in working to protect our valuable natural resources."
"We will not tolerate this behavior in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. We are committed to fully prosecuting those responsible for the torture and death of this vulnerable and threatened species," State Attorney Angela Corey said in a statement.
If convicted of the animal cruelty charge, Greene faces up to five years in prison, according to FWC. The misdemeanor charge calls for 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
Greene's next court date has not been scheduled.
Photos: August 2014 Mugshots: