Final 4 of 12 defendants sentenced in 2017 Americus dogfighting case
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The last four of 12 defendants convicted in a 2017 Americus dogfighting case were sentenced Monday in Albany, according to a press release from Peter Leary, the acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
Of the four sentenced Monday, two are from South Georgia.
Kizzy Solomon aka Kizzy Andrews, 44, of Camilla, was sentenced to serve two years and six months in prison after a federal jury convicted her Tuesday, June 22, on 15 counts of aiding and abetting the possession and training of dogs for purposes of an animal fighting venture.
Orlando “OJ” or “Juiceman” Johnson, 35, of Americus, was sentenced to serve two years and six months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act.
Also sentenced on Monday was Leslie “Les” Meyers, 45, of Tallahassee, Fla. He was sentenced to serve a total of 10 years and three months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act and unlawful possession of a handgun by a person with a prior felony conviction.
Kevin “Trinidad” Charles, 45, of Jackson, was also sentenced Monday. He was given one year and six months to be served in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“Dog-fighting is vicious and illegal; it is also a breeding ground for other dangerous criminal activity that undermines the safety of our communities. Our office will not tolerate dog-fighting; we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold offenders accountable with federal prosecution,” said Leary.
Five others were previously sentenced in the same case after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act. All are from Georgia.
- Kentre Gibson aka Gipp, 40, of Douglas, was sentenced to serve one year and nine months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release on July 21.
- Terry Driggers, 71, of Hoboken, was sentenced to serve one year and five months in prison to be followed by two years of probation on July 22.
- Maurice Glover, 48, of Douglas, was sentenced to serve one year in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release on July 22.
- Starlin Morgan, 39, of Plains, was sentenced to serve 11 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release on July 21.
- Timothy White, 51, of Patterson, was sentenced to serve 11 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release on July 21.
Three other co-defendants were sentenced earlier after pleading guilty to attending an animal fighting venture (misdemeanor). All of which are also from Georgia.
- Germany “Rat” or “Gator” Brockington, 34, of Ambrose, was sentenced to serve seven months in prison, consecutive to his current prison sentence on Aug. 17.
- Alonza Jordan, 48, of Americus, was sentenced to serve three months in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release on July 21.
- Shadon Johnson, 37, of Fitzgerald, was sentenced to serve two years of probation on July 21.
Background on the case:
The press release states that according to court documents, this case was based largely on a “two-card” dog fight in Sumter County that was disrupted by law enforcement while in progress on January 21, 2017. Court documents say defendant Meyers traveled to the event from Florida with a dog, which he pitted in a fight against a dog handled by defendant White. Meyers was in illegal possession of a pistol at the time of the fight.
Meyers’ dog was declared the winner of the dog fight but refused to complete a “courtesy scratch” – a macabre dogfighting ritual in which a dog who has already won is taken back to a corner of the ring and released one final time to attack the losing dog (or its dead body), Leary’s office reported. The dog’s continuing “gameness” or willingness to attack garners extra prestige for the handler. After Meyers’ dog refused to complete the courtesy scratch, Meyers suffocated the dog to death by hanging him from a tree branch. Law enforcement found the dog’s body under the bumper of Meyers’ car. Authorities also came upon two other live dogs in the middle of a fight, one of which had extensive injuries and had to be euthanized. After most participants fled the scene, agents recovered several firearms and approximately $18,000 in U.S. currency.
The release says search warrants executed later at the residences of some of the defendants revealed dozens of pit bull-type dogs housed in conditions consistent with dogfighting. Many of these dogs were emaciated and/or had scarring or injuries. Authorities also seized dog fighting equipment, including injectable veterinary steroids and a dog treadmill on which various dogs’ fighting histories, including whether they had perished during dog fights, were printed.
“The injuries that dogs suffer in fights are horrible enough, but this case shows how the cruelty of the dogfighting industry goes far beyond the fighting pit,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute those who engage in these crimes.”
“The cruelty exhibited by these individuals has left a stain on the human psyche of our civilization,” said Jason Williams, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General. “This collaborative effort with our local and federal partners demonstrates that wherever you are, you will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office and Decatur County Animal Control.
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