2 co-defendants in Vick federal dogfighting case sentenced Print
Written by Admin   
Friday, 30 November 2007 22:56
NFL Headline News

 RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -The news could have been worse for Michael Vick.
A federal judge sentenced two of the suspended NFL star's dogfighting cohorts to 18 months and 21 months in prison Friday.
U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson made clear his disdain for animal cruelty with prison terms that were a little longer than prosecutors recommended, but less than the five-year maximum Hudson could have imposed.
``It's good news for Michael Vick because it shows the judge is willing to sentence within the range,'' said Steven Benjamin of Richmond, secretary of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Vick, the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback, also faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 10 for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy that operated on his 15-acre property in southeastern Virginia from 2001 until last summer.
Benjamin said Vick still could get a sentence above the negotiated range in his case - a year to 18 months - if Hudson concludes the 27-year-old Vick is more culpable than the others because he admitting bankrolling the operation and providing gambling money.
According to court papers, Vick not only financed the ``Bad Newz Kennels'' but also participated in executing several underperforming dogs by drowning, hanging and other means.
Federal sentencing guidelines called for prison terms of a year to 18 months for Purnell Peace and 18 months to two years for Quanis Phillips, who has 10 prior misdemeanor convictions. Prosecutors recommended sentences at the low end of those ranges because of the co-defendants' cooperation in the government's investigation.
Phillips of Atlanta was sentenced to 21 months in prison and Peace of Virginia Beach to 18 months.
Hudson, who owns a bichon frise dog, said he believed slightly tougher sentences were appropriate. Peace's sentence is at the top of the guideline range, Phillips' in the middle.
``You may have thought this was sporting, but it was very callous and cruel,'' Hudson told Phillips.
Vick's attorney, Lawrence Woodward, attended Friday's proceedings and declined to comment as he left the courtroom.
John Goodwin, manager of animal fighting issues for the Humane Society of the United States, also attended and said he was satisfied with the sentences.
``The judge sent a pretty strong and clear message that dogfighting is a dead-end activity, and it carries some meaningful consequences,'' Goodwin said.
Peace, Phillips and Tony Taylor of Hampton pleaded guilty last summer and agreed to testify against Vick, prompting the former Virginia Tech football star to enter his own plea agreement a few days later. The 35-year-old Taylor will be sentenced Dec. 14.
Vick has publicly apologized for his role in the dogfighting enterprise and turned himself in Nov. 19 to begin serving his prison term early. He is being held in a state jail in Warsaw, Va.
In addition to prison time, Peace and Phillips were fined $250 each and will be placed on three years' probation after their release.
Hudson said he was ``disturbed'' to read in a pre-sentencing report that Peace told the court he saw nothing wrong with dogfighting and believed ``it's natural for dogs to fight.''
``I am very sorry,'' Peace told Hudson, fighting back tears while his family members in the packed courtroom softly wept.
Peace also expressed remorse and pleaded for understanding in a letter to Hudson, who received five other letters from Peace's friends and relatives.
``I have asked God and my family to forgive me, but I would also like to ask you, the public, and everyone else that I have affected and or offended not to just pardon me, but to try and understand I am not without sin, and I am more than just the dog slayer the world has come to know me as,'' Peace wrote.
The 28-year-old Phillips passed on his opportunity to address the court and did not submit any letters from supporters. His attorney, Jeffrey Swartz, later told reporters Phillips was ``nervous and decided not to speak,'' so he did the talking for him.
Swartz told the judge Phillips was sorry and would be willing to ``help address the issue of dogfighting'' as part of his probation.
``That's going to have to flow from the heart, not an order from me,'' Hudson said.
Swartz also explained how Phillips got involved in the enterprise, tracing it to his childhood in Vick's hometown of Newport News.
``He grew up around people for whom dogfighting was an accepted and acceptable activity,'' Swartz told Hudson. ``It was a way for young men to prove themselves.''
Swartz said he was not trying to excuse the behavior, which Phillips now realizes was wrong.
All four men also face state charges, and Swartz told Hudson that ``I still have to shake my head and wonder a little bit about the federal government's decision to prosecute this case.''
Federal prosecutors refused to comment as they left the courthouse, where several protesters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals gathered holding posters with pictures of injured dogs.
Phillips, who has been in custody for violating terms of his release, was led away in his orange prison jumpsuit. The 36-year-old Peace will report to prison Jan. 3.
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.
---
Associated Press Writer Zinie Chen Sampson contributed to this report.
 

NFL Team Pages

Top NFL Public Bets

#1 480 Kansas City Chiefs 86%
#2 485 San Francisco 49ers 84%
#3 491 San Diego Chargers 79%
#4 463 New Orleans Saints 73%
#5 488 Denver Broncos 72%
#6 475 Buffalo Bills 72%
#7 469 Jacksonville Jaguars 66%
#8 490 Detroit Lions 65%
#9 481 New England Patriots 64%
#10 468 Pittsburgh Steelers 64%
View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

NFL Futures

NFL TEAM CONFERENCE ODDS CURRENT
DENVER BRONCOS 9/4
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 3/1
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 15/4
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 4/1
GREEN BAY PACKERS 15/2
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 8/1
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 8/1
CHICAGO BEARS 10/1
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 12/1
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 14/1
View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on TheSpread.com website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: TheSpread.com is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.

©1999-2013 TheSpread.com