Prosecutor says he'll seek indictments in case at Vick property
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- 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" regarding the case to a grand jury on Tuesday.
"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 mostly undeveloped 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 brutally 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 exact 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 before cutting the conversation short. "I don't have anything else to say about it. I'm through with it. Hopefully it's coming to an end."
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 already pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in the case, and all are awaiting sentencing in federal court before the end of the year.
Vick, who faces up to five years in prison, also has been indefinitely suspended without pay by the NFL and been dropped by all his major sponsors, including Nike.
The local charges, and a conviction, 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 days before the first raid.
That alone could expose him to as many as 40 years in prison.
Vick, in his written plea, also admitted to supplying money for gambling on the fights involving Bad Newz Kennels dogs. He said he did not personally place any bets or share in any winnings, but gave his three co-defendants all those proceeds.
The co-defendants, all of whom pleaded guilty before Vick and detailed what they said was his involvement, agreed to testify against him had the case gone to trial.
The case began in late April when authorities conducting a drug investigation of Vick's cousin raided the former Virginia Tech star's property and seized dozens of dogs, most of them pit bulls, and equipment commonly associated with dogfighting.
Six weeks later, with the local investigation perceived to be dragging and a search warrant allowed to expire unexecuted, federal agents arrived with their own search warrants and started digging up dog carcasses buried days before the first raid.
Poindexter, who had been widely criticized for the pace of the investigation, reacted angrily when the feds moved in, suggesting that Vick's celebrity was a draw, or that their pursuit of the case could have racial overtones. He later eased off those comments, saying that the sides would simply be pursuing parallel investigations.