Vick may face Virginia charges in addition to federal indictment

Updated: July 19, 2007, 10:44 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Michael Vick's troubles might not end at the federal courthouse steps.

The top state prosecutor in Surry County, Va., said the Atlanta Falcons quarterback "more than likely" will face state charges in addition to the dogfighting charges brought against him by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, according to the Virginian-Pilot newspaper of Hampton Roads.

Surry County Commmonwealth's Attorney Gerald Poindexter told the newspaper he was not sure what charges Vick might face and that any indictment by a local grand jury could be months away. "But we're very moved by the idea of animals being executed," he said, according to the newspaper.

According to Poindexter, dogfighting and cruelty to animals when the animal is a companion dog are felonies in Virginia, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

However, unlike the federal indictment against Vick and three others, any charges sought by Poindexter seeks must be on crimes alleged to have been committed in Surry County, the newspaper reported.

Vick was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of sponsoring a dogfighting operation so grisly the losers either died in the pit or sometimes were electrocuted, drowned, hanged or shot.

Vick and three others were charged with competitive dogfighting, procuring and training pit bulls for fighting and conducting the enterprise across state lines. The defendants are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Richmond on July 26.

Vick, Purnell Peace, Tony Taylor and Quanis Phillips will appear before a magistrate judge, Dennis Dohnal, at 3:30 p.m. for bond and at 4 p.m. in front of Judge Henry Hudson for arraignment. If convicted, Vick and the others could face up to six years in prison, $350,000 in fines and restitution.

Several league sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday night that Vick spoke by phone with Falcons owner Arthur Blank earlier in the day. None of the sources knew or would divulge the exact wording of the brief conversation, but characterized Vick as "devastated" by the indictment and contrite.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported that after consulting with the Falcons, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and top league officials agreed Wednesday to let Vick play as the legal process determines the facts.

In a statement released Thursday, Blank said the team is considering its options.

"This is an emotionally charged and complicated matter, Blank said. "There are a wide range of interests and legal issues that need to be carefully considered as we move ahead, including our need to respect the due process that Michael is entitled to. Also, this situation affects everyone -- our club, our players and associates, our sponsors, our fans and the Atlanta community among them -- so we must consider all of our customers in making any decisions.

"Given the differing perspectives and strong feelings around this issue, we probably won't make everyone happy, but we are committed to doing the right thing. As the owner of this club that's, ultimately, my responsibility."

The Associated Press and ESPN.com senior NFL writers Len Pasquarelli contributed to this report.