County to press dogfight charges

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RICHMOND, Va. - The prosecutor in the rural county where Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has admitted to bankrolling a dogfighting operation plans to present "a host of bills of indictment" to a grand jury today.

Vick  AP / File
AP / File
Vick

"Yes, I'm presenting matters to the grand jury that involve dogfighting at 1915 Moonlight Road," Surry County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday night.

Moonlight Road is the address of the two-story home on 15 acres that has been host to Bad Newz Kennels since 2001. It's where dozens of pit bulls were found in April, and where they were trained, fought and executed.

"Most of the matters that I'm presenting have already been admitted in sworn statements authored by the defendants in the federal proceedings," Poindexter said.

He couldn't detail the indictments he will pursue, but said the local investigation and the federal investigation largely focused on different crimes.

"The killing of dogs is one of those statutory prohibitions. Dogfighting is a crime, the mistreatment of animals is a crime, so you could take your pick, or take them all," Poindexter said.

Vick, his co-defendants and lawyers will not attend the closed proceeding.

Efforts to reach Vick's lawyers by telephone and e-mail were not successful.

Vick and three co-defendants have pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in the case, and all are awaiting sentencing in federal court.

Vick faces up to five years in prison and has been indefinitely suspended without pay by the NFL.

A conviction on local charges could spell an end to any hope he has of resuming his NFL career after serving a likely federal prison term. An animal cruelty charge in Virginia is punishable by up to five years in prison, and he admitted in his written plea to helping kill six to eight pit bulls before the first raid.

That alone could expose him to as many as 40 years in prison.


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