Man, 88, accused of setting raccoon on fire for eating his mangos

Palm Bay senior admits to animal cruelty accusation

PALM BAY, Fla. – An 88-year-old man posted a $2,000 bond and walked out of the Brevard County Jail on Friday, after being accused of burning a raccoon he had trapped.

His first time in jail, Ezra James said he feared the raccoon would bite him and give him rabies. He said he also planned to kill the raccoon for eating mangos in his yard.

"I throw some gasoline on him and I light a match," James said.

Moments later, as the raccoon burned alive, a neighbor called 911, James said.

James called that neighbor a "wicked woman."

"My business is my business. I don't take my business to strangers," said James. He also said he wouldn't apologize to some disturbed neighbors.

James said he did not know authorities would have humanely euthanized the raccoon.

Palm Bay police said an officer had to shoot the raccoon to put it out of its misery.

James will have some explaining to do to neighbors who thought he was a nice guy.

"Maybe the man is losing it to do something like that," Ana DeJesus said.

"I can't stand what people do to animals anymore. They need to live too," Nancy Gill said.

James rode a taxi home Friday from the county jail. His next court date is not scheduled yet.

About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.