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 RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -The first man to plead guilty in the Michael Vick dogfighting conspiracy is the last to be sentenced.
Tony Taylor of Hampton faced a maximum of five years in prison Friday, although the punishments handed to Vick and his other two co-defendants suggested a much lighter sentence.
Vick, the disgraced NFL star who financed the ``Bad Newz Kennels'' operation, was sentenced Monday to 23 months in prison. Purnell Peace of Virginia Beach and Quanis Phillips of Atlanta previously were sentenced to 18 months and 21 months, respectively.
All four men initially pleaded not guilty. Taylor changed his plea on July 30 and agreed to cooperate with the government in its prosecution of the others. Peace and Phillips soon changed their pleas as well, and Vick followed suit on Aug. 23.
Taylor scouted for a location for the dogfighting operation in 2001 and recommended a 15-acre tract in Surry County, in rural southeastern Virginia. Vick paid about $34,000 for the property the following year.
In a summary of facts that accompanied his plea agreement, Taylor said he maintained and trained the dogs for about three years. He admitted executing two dogs, shooting one and electrocuting the other, when they did not perform well in test fights.
Vick received a harsher sentence than Peace and Phillips after Hudson concluded that the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback lied about his direct involvement in killing dogs and about his marijuana use, which was detected in a drug test.
Taylor said he left the operation after a falling out with Phillips and others in September 2004.
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