Attorney: Shark was dead before it was dragged behind boat

A jury will look at cell phone video of a shark being dragged behind a speed boat and decide what role in it, if any, defendant Robert Benac had.

It will come down to whether the shark was alive at the time it was being dragged.

Benac's attorney, Justin Petredis hopes a jury sees it his way.

"The shark was dead before it was towed. That’s our position and we have an expert that’s going to say that," explained Petredis.

In the beginning, there were three defendants facing aggravated animal cruelty charges but last year the state dropped charges against one of them.

Earlier this year, co-defendant Michael Wenzel pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges in exchange for 10 days in jail and probation.

Now, Benac is the lone standing defendant.

Thursday, he asked the judge to drop the charges against him due to a lack of evidence. But prosecutor Jessica Couvertier argued there is plenty of evidence that shows Benac had a hand in the death of two sharks that day.

"He is seen participating in this. He is seen holding the shark in count one and two while Mr. Wenzel is seen shooting the shark. There are ongoing statements... encouraging the behavior," said Couvertier.

Hillsborough County Judge Mark Wolfe denied the defense's motion to throw out the charges. Benac's trial is set for June 24.