But Cecil didn't die, and the lion wandered helplessly for 40 hours before his killers tracked him down. The hunters shot him, beheaded him and skinned him. They also removed his tracking collar against park rules.
The BBC reported Monday, before Palmer's name was released, that the hunter responsible for Cecil's death had bribed local guides with $55,000 to help him track and kill the famous lion.
Several people have already been implicated in Cecil's killing. Theo Bronkhorst, the professional hunter who led the expedition, and Honest Trymore Ndlovu, who owns the land where Cecil was first shot, are due to appear in court this week as neither of them had a permit to kill the lion, according to a release from the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority. Another professional hunter, Zane Bronkhorst, was also named.