It's been close to a month now since the world was captivated by the bizarre and tragic massacre of 49 exotic predators released from their Ohio compound and set loose into the general population. When three young locals, friends who gathered for a regular poker game, had heard the news, they instantly landed on the kind of dumb decision that could only be made amongst poker buddies after a few (or a lot) too many: They decided to check out the scene.
So Joseph Jakubisin, 21, and his cousin Brian Matthews, also 21, piled into a Jeep Cherokee belonging to Richard Weidlich, 20, and drove the 25 miles from Cambridge to Zanesville to take in the stampede action. Jakubisin told The Smoking Gun that they had only planned to "photograph the animals," when they stumbled upon the carcass of a lion, which was surrounded by other looky-loos who were posing for pictures with it.
That's when Weidlich, 20, and Jakubisin's cousin, 21-year-old Brian Matthews, decided to take the dead lion. Jakubisin said that it took the duo about 30 minutes of "messing around with it" to get the heavy carcass into the car's hatchback trunk.
What did they plan on doing with it? Weidlich said they came up with a few "stupid ideas," like turning it into a rug or having it stuffed. "We were living in the moment," Weidlich said. Cops rolled up before they could get away, however, and pulled the dead lion out of the car with ropes. The entire scene was caught on cameras by a local news crew (pictured). The three guys and two other accomplices were charged on Monday with misdemeanor theft. Each faces up to six months in jail and $1,000 fine.