Last defendant gets probation after cooperating in Vick case
RICHMOND, Va. -- A man who sold a female pit bull to Michael Vick's dogfighting operation and attended some of the fights escaped prison time Friday because he cooperated with investigators and did not physically harm any of the dogs.
Closure came to the Michael Vick federal dogfighting case on Friday when the last of its five defendants, who was lauded for cooperating with investigators, was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Richmond, Va.
Defendants and their punishment Age* Sentence Michael Vick 27 23 months in prison Quanis Phillips 28 21 months in prison Purnell Peace 36 18 months in prison Tony Taylor 35 2 months in prison Oscar Allen 67 3 years' probation *Age at time of sentencing
Oscar Allen was sentenced to three years' probation and fined $500 for his limited involvement in the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting ring that operated out of Vick's 15-acre spread in rural Surry County.
Vick, the suspended star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, was sentenced in December to 23 months in federal prison. Three co-defendants also have been sentenced to prison terms.
"Your case is in a clearly different class than the other defendants who've appeared before me," U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson told the 67-year-old Allen. "But for your cooperation the case would not have developed as smoothly and completely as it did."
Allen, from the Williamsburg area, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce to aid in illegal gambling and to sponsor a dog in animal fighting -- the same charge to which Vick and the other three men pleaded guilty.
Allen faced a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but federal prosecutors recommended that he spend no time in prison because he cooperated with investigators, had no prior criminal record and was a minor player in Vick's dogfighting enterprise.
"He came in and cooperated without any immunity or protection, knowing he would be charged," prosecutor Michael Gill said. He said information supplied by Allen was "a significant factor" in obtaining guilty pleas from Vick and the others.
Prosecutors said that while Allen helped conduct test fights to determine which dogs were good fighters, he was not involved in killing the six to eight that performed poorly.
"I see no evidence of any cruel acts toward animals in this case," Hudson said.
The judge told Allen that the light punishment did not mean he condoned Allen's behavior. "You clearly aided and abetted this conspiracy," he said.
Asked if he had anything to say, Allen told Hudson: "I would just like to apologize to the court for my actions and say I am very sorry."
Allen sold to Vick's operation a pit bull named Jane, one of dozens of dogs seized by authorities during a raid in April. Hudson appointed Rebecca J. Huss, professor at the Valparaiso University School of Law, guardian of the dogs.
Based on her recommendations, 47 dogs have been sent to eight animal rescue organizations throughout the country. Two previously were euthanized -- one for medical reasons, another because of behavioral issues.
Huss said in a telephone interview Friday that she hopes many of the 47 pit bulls eventually can be adopted by families. Some will require lifetime care by the rescue organizations.
"The individual organizations will be following their own guidelines," Huss said. "The dogs will have to show they are not a danger to public safety. We have to make sure they have the tools they need to be successful in society."
She said she has interacted with all of the dogs.
"I don't want to minimize the damage that's been done because a lot of them have a long way to go," Huss said. "But what's amazing is how resilient they are. Most of them want to be with people, but some are still cautious."
She said Jane was not one of the two euthanized.
"She's a rambunctious dog," Huss said. "She entertains herself and, physically, she's in good shape. She's a dog that makes a good impression on you."
Allen was indicted separately from Vick and three co-defendants. Purnell Peace of Virginia Beach was sentenced to 18 months, Quanis Phillips of Atlanta to 21 months and Tony Taylor of Hampton, Va., to 2 months.
Those four men also face state animal cruelty charges in Surry County. Vick's trial is set for April 2.
Vick, who admitted bankrolling the dogfighting operation and helping execute dogs, entered a minimum-security prison in Leavenworth, Kan., this month.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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VICK SENTENCED TO 23 MONTHS
Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison and three years' probation for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy. The suspended Falcons quarterback is looking at a scheduled release of July 2009. Story
Update• GM: Falcons will attempt to trade Vick
• Lawyer: Vick might move to halfway house
• Former Vick estate fails to sell again
• Vick house fails to sell at auction
• Vick files for bankruptcy protection
• Prosecutor: Vick's Virginia trial can wait
• Vick ordered to repay Canadian bank $2.4 million
• Judge denies NFL motion to reverse Vick ruling
• Report: Vick not playing organized football in jail
• Report: Vick passes time with prison-yard football
• Vick's state dogfighting trial to begin June 27
• Munson: Vick yet to enter drug treatment
The sentence• Vick sent to Kansas to serve rest of sentence
• Vick asked judge for leniency before sentencing
• Vick sentenced to 23 months | Document (pdf)
• Poll: What do you think? | What they're saying
• Clayton: Sentence puts career in jeopardy
• Munson: Tough sentence by displeased judge
• Teammates show support at Falcons game
• Can Vick return to playing in NFL?
• Pasquarelli: No longer top of mind in Atlanta
• Last Vick co-defendant sentenced
• Podcasts : Cossack | Schlereth | Munson/Naqi | Pasquarelli
• Chat wrap: David Cornwell
Post Plea• NFL wants court to reverse Vick bonus ruling
• Victory for Vick: QB can keep $20 million bonus
• Fifth defendant in Vick case receives probation
• Vick's house for sale for $1.1M
• Some Falcons to visit Vick in prison
• PETA unveils new e-card
• Former Virginia estate fails to sell at auction
• Out of Falcons' sight, almost out of mind
• Judge's casework offers look at possible sentence
• Remaining dogs placed with rescue groups
• Source: Feds may push judge to up sentence
• NFLPA argues Vick should not lose roster bonus
• Vick co-defendants get 18, 21 months in prison
• Vick agrees to put up almost $1M for dogs' care
• Vick given April trial date on state charges
• Vick surrenders to begin serving sentence early
• Home at center of Vick dogfighting scandal sold
• Vick fires one of his lawyers in dogfighting case
• Man who sold Vick pit bull pleads guilty
• Man connected to Vick dogfight ring pleads guilty
• Third bank sues Vick, claims he defaulted on loan
• Arbiter: Falcons have right to reclaim bonuses
• PETA: Vick had class on animal cruelty
• Evaluations show 48 of Vick's dogs placeable
• Vick tests positive for marijuana
• Vick supporters turn out for town meeting
• Vick's apology notes fetch $10.2K at auction
Vick's Plea/NFL Suspension• Vick pleads guilty to federal dogfighting charge
• The plea (PDF) | Statement of facts (PDF)
• Vick's statement: Watch it | Read it
• Roger Cossack explains plea deal
• Poll: Vick should be banned
• Va. Tech, Beamer continue to support Vick
• Vick supporters drown out protesters
• NFL suspends Vick indefinitely | Goodell (PDF)
• Chris Mortensen on Vick's suspension
• Vick files plea agreement admitting to dogfighting
Indictment• Marbury's about-face: Vick 'is 100 percent wrong'
• National NAACP: Vick 'not a victim' | Audio
• Atlanta NAACP: Vick should be allowed to return
• Falcons come to terms with 'ex-teammate'
• Vick timeline | What they're saying
• Helyar: Even Atlanta turns against Vick
• Goodell: Vick not overshadowing season
• Vick co-defendant pleads guilty to charges
• Tony Taylor: Summary of Facts | Plea agreement
• Hometown residents stand by Vick
• Falcons had planned to suspend Vick
• Commish tells Vick to avoid camp
• Vick indicted | The indictment (pdf) | Civil arrest warrant (pdf)
Town Hall meeting• Town Hall chat wrap: Chadiha
Previous columns/analysis• Munson: Q&A on Vick reporting to prison early
• Munson: Looking at Judge Hudson
• Vick's high school learning lessons
• Bryant: Confounded by race issue
• Munson: Q&A about local indictment
• Munson: Next focus for Vick is length of sentence
• Schlabach: Vick an afterthought on VT campus
• Chadiha: Vick not running from truth
• Hill: Coverage means bigger issues ignored
• Wojciechowski: Pay attention to the fallen star
• Bryant: Vick's plea deal comes with baggage
• Bryant: In failing Vick, NFLPA fails itself
• Munson: Vick plea means surrender
• Forde: Vick's epic fall
• Pasquarelli: Major blow for Falcons
• Chadiha: Lots of lessons to be learned
• Wojciechowski: Punishment with teeth
• Easterbrook: Little sympathy?
• Clayton: Vick's NFL future might be bleak
• E-Ticket: A history of mistrust
• Chadiha: Vick's bad choices
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