RICHMOND, Va. -- The prosecutor in the county where Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has admitted to bankrolling a
dogfighting operation plans to present evidence to the grand jury,
Tuesday, that could possibly lead to an indictment.
"Yes, I'm presenting matters to the grand jury that involve
dogfighting at 1915 Moonlight Road," Surry County Commonwealth
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.
Poindexter 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
As is the case in grand jury hearings, the prosecutor will
present evidence and the grand jury will decide whether or not to
proceed. Vick, his co-defendants and lawyers are not permitted to
attend the closed proceeding.
Efforts to reach Vick's lawyers by telephone and e-mail were not
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 on the federal
charges, 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 Vick admitted in his written plea to helping
kill six to eight pit bulls days before the first raid.
Though not likely, 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, 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