|Two in Vick dogfighting case face sentencing|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 30 November 2007 01:20|
Quanis Phillips of Atlanta and Purnell Peace of Virginia Beach, Va., faced up to five years in prison for participating in a dogfighting conspiracy, although sentencing guidelines suggested a year to 18 months. Vick faces the same potential prison time.
U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson, who has presided over the dogfighting case, is not bound by the guidelines. Vick will be sentenced Dec. 10. Tony Taylor of Hampton, who was the first to plead guilty, will be sentenced on Dec. 14.
The sentences for Phillips and Peace will give at least some indication of Hudson's attitude toward the dogfighting ring's stomach-turning activities, which included executing dogs that did not perform well in test fights, said Richmond criminal attorney Steven Benjamin.
``This sentencing range certainly takes into consideration the torture and killing of select animals,'' Benjamin said. ``But does it, for this judge, reflect sufficient punishment for the inhumanity of fighting dogs for sport or intentional animal cruelty for profit?''
A sentence harsher than the guideline range would be bad news for Vick, who also could be punished more harshly for financing the dogfighting enterprise, Benjamin said.
Peace, Phillips and Taylor pleaded guilty last summer and agreed to testify against Vick, prompting the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback to enter his own plea agreement a few days later.
According to court papers, Vick financed virtually the entire ``Bad Newz Kennels'' dogfighting enterprise at his 15-acre property in Surry County in rural southeastern Virginia and participated in executing several underperforming dogs by drowning, hanging and other means.
Vick publicly apologized for his role in the dogfighting operation and unexpectedly turned himself in Nov. 19 to begin serving his prison term early. He is being held in a state jail in Warsaw, Va.
All four men also face state charges.
The case began in April when a drug investigation of a Vick relative led authorities to the Surry County property, where they found dozens of pit bulls and an assortment of dogfighting paraphernalia.