|Who, age||What||Where||When||Last Known Address|
|Michael Dwayne Vick, 27 (1) a/k/a "Ookie and Ron Mexico"||Dogfighting||
|April 15, 2007|
|Purnell Augusta Peace, 35 (2) a/k/a "P-Funk and Funk"||Dogfighting||
|April 15, 2007||Virginia Beach, VA|
|Tony Taylor, 34 (3) a/k/a "T" and||Dogfighting||
|April 15, 2007||Hampton, VA|
|Quanis Lavell Phillips, 28 (4) a/k/a "Q"||Dogfighting||
|April 15, 2007||Atlanta, GA|
|Charles W. Reamon, Jr.(5) a/k/a "C.J."||Dogfighting||
|April 15, 2007|
|Oscar Allen, 67 (6) a/k/a "Virginia O"||sold a dog named Jane to Michael Vick for dogfighting, attended dogfights, trained fighting dogs||
|July 17, 2007|
|Type of Crime||Other Crimes||#/Type of animal(s) involved||Case Status||Next Court Date /Courthouse|
(1)civil suit for giving a woman a sexually transmitted disease
(3) drug convictions, domestic violence
(4) drug convictions
(5) 3 convictions for illegal firearms
(6)numerous probation violations
53 pitbulls seized, 12 pitbulls killed
Federal Conviction: Conspiracy in interstate commerce/aid of unlawful animal fighting venture (Title 18, USC, Section 371)
State Conviction: Unlawfully torturing and killing dogs, promoting dogfights
(Photo courtesy of the Virginian-Pilot) Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, age 27, was served a search warrant for property he owned at 1915 Moonlight Rd. A state taskforce went to the property and discovered 3 buildings behind the home that housed several dogs. The dogs appeared to be hungry and forgotten. The case was uncovered as a result of a drug investigation involving Vick's cousin, Davon Boddie, age 26. Boddie listed the property as his address after being arrested on a drug charge in April. 66 live dogs were found, 55 of them pit bulls, 17 dogs were found dead.
Reports indicated that Vick was allegedly running a dogfighting operation from the back of the home. The Virginia Animal Fighting Taskforce was called in as it was also reported that Vick had been under investigation for several years for illegal animal fighting. dogfighting is a felony in Virginia, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $2,500 fine. It is banned nationwide and a felony in 48 states. Vick has denied any involvement in the dogfighting and blamed relatives for taking advantage of his generosity. Vick also claimed he had never been to the home, even though he owns it. (See the helicopter video of the case at video) (Note video is choppy and has no sound).
(Photo courtesy from the Virginian-Pilot) (Photo courtesy of Steve Helber/The Associated Press)
Note: the white brick home at 1915 Mountain Rd sits across the street from a small Baptist church and next to a narrow road that winds through farm fields in northern Surry County. The nearest house is about 100 yards away, beyond a thick grove of trees. A white fence wraps around the property. Behind the house, a compound of kennel buildings sits behind a tall, chain-link fence, surrounded by thick woods. The 2 buildings are painted black. The windows are covered in black plastic. Narrow pathways run between the buildings and the chain-link dog pens near the back of the compound. The property consists of 15-acres.
(Photo's courtesy of Mort Fryman/the Associated Press) (Photo courtesy of John H. Sheally, II/the Associated Press)
This case has become much larger than a football player and cruelty to dogs and has dominated talk radio, cable news, email, websites and newspapers all summer long. (See video1 (Note with sound).
Vick's inner circle is made up of at least 5 people who have had run in's with the law. His younger brother Marcus, was a star quarterback at Virginia Tech, was kicked off the football team following a series of legal and on-field problems, and later left school. Bad Newz Kennel associate C.J. Reamon Jr. has 3 convictions related to illegal firearms or airport security including an incident in August when he was caught carrying a loaded .357-caliber Glock into the Newport News-Williamsburg Terminal. Tony Taylor and Quanis Phillips who have been indicted along with Vick have had drug-related brushes with the law. In 1992 Taylor received a 2 year sentence in the Bronx for drug-trafficking. He served 7 months in a NY state prison before being paroled on 2/18/93. Taylor was arrested in Newport News on cocaine possession charges in 1996; the case was dismissed after he completed a substance-abuse program and following 1 year of good behavior. And on April 10, 2007, Sandy Springs police arrested him on a domestic violence battery charge. He was released on $500 bond. Phillips played football with Vick in high school and is listed as a contact to call to buy a dog for Vick's K9 Kennels. And his cousin Davon T. Boddie whose 2 drug arrests this year led to the dogfighting charges.
(Photo courtesy of John H. Sheally II/The Virginian-Pilot) (Photo's courtesy of Todd Spender/The Virginian-Pilot)
Vick formally plead guilty to dogfighting charges on August 27, and will be sentenced December 10th by US District Judge Henry Hudson. Federal guidelines suggest a 12-18 month sentence but Judge Hudson is not required to follow these guidelines and could jail Vick for up to 5 years. Had Vick not plead guilty and rejected the deal, he would have faced additional charges under the Federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) of up to 20 years in prison.
(Photo courtesy of the Virginian-Pilot) At his plea hearing, Judge Henry E. Hudson, a dog owner himself, warned Vick he was taking his chances and would have to live with whatever decision he makes. US District Judge Hudson is known in legal circles as a jurist who rarely grants defendants leniency and who also rarely sees his cases overturned on appeal. Judge Hudson is a no-nonsense judge, who moves his cases along quickly, is tough and fair and holds the attorneys to strick speedy-trial rules.
After the hearing Vick apologized to the public and admitted he had to grow up and said he had found Jesus. "I want to apologize for all the things I have done and have allowed to happen", "I am ashamed and totally disappointed in myself to say the least", Vick stated.
This case has brought to the forefront the sordid underground practice of dogfighting in the US but Vick's supporters believe he has been demonized well beyond the crime committed. Under federal law, dogfighting was a misdemeanor when investigators searched Vick's property on April 25th. 8 days later, President Bush signed a bill that made it a felony. Under the old federal law, dogfighting carried a maximum prison sentence of 1 year per animal. The new law raised that to a maximum of 3 years in prison. Under Virginia law, participating in dogfights is a felony punishable by as many as 5 years in prison. When interstate gambling, drugs or dogfighting laws are involved, the federal government has a very strong interest in investigating and will typically involve state agencies in their investigation. Federal involvement is often a help in unraveling complicated issues because federal grand juries are set up to investigate possible crimes while state grand juries just decide whether law enforcement officials have sufficient evidence to issue indictments. Also Federal grand juries can compel witnesses to testify under the threat of perjury if they don't tell the truth. The IRS might also get involved in these cases if federal taxes are not paid on profits from the dogfighting enterprise. The federal government might also be interested in racketeering charges if any of the people involved in a dogfighting ring were convicted of similar crimes in the past. This involvement is the norm, not the exception.
In Vick's written plea agreement, Vick admitted to providing most of the money for the fight training and gambling operation on his property in Surry County, VA which he purchased in June 2001 and sold shortly after the raid. His agreement also made it clear he was present when 6-8 dogs were killed after fighting poorly. Vick's plea agreement can be read by clicking on the following link Vick plea agreement.
Under the terms of the agreement, Federal prosecutors have agreed to recommend sentencing at the low end of the guideline range. Meanwhile the defendants are all free without bond. Taylor, will be required to submit to periodic drug testing, while Pease and Phillips were ordered to submit to testing as well as an electronic monitoring program. Neither drug testing nor monitoring were ordered for Vick. Each defendant must surrender their passports, cannot travel outside their immediate area without prior approval and are prohibited from selling or possessing dogs. Vick was ordered to surrender all animal breeder and kennel licenses.
The summary of facts stated Vick was aware 4 dogs were killed in 2002 and 6-8 dogs were killed in April, 2007 as a result of the "collective efforts" of Vick and 2 of his co-defendants. Vick's summary of facts document can be read by clicking on the following link Vick Summary of Facts
Vick's dogfighting business known as Bad Newz Kennels began in 2002 with Taylor 34 of Hampton, VA, Phillips, 28 of Atlanta and Peace, 35 of Virginia Beach. The dogs were "rolled" or "tested" by putting them through fighting sessions to determine which ones were good fighters. Those that did not perform well were executed. According to Taylor's summary (Taylor's Summary of Facts) Peace and Phillips, a childhood friend of Vick's, each shot at least 1 dog after those testing sessions. Taylor shot 1 and electrocuted another, according to his summary. The summary also stated that most of the operation and gambling money was provided by Vick and all defendants claimed purses when their dogs won fights. Taylor's plea agreement was filed on 7-30-07 (Taylor) and will be sentenced on December 14th. Taylor, just 4 days earlier had originally plead not guilty. Taylor agreed to fully cooperate with the government in its prosecution of Vick, Peace and Phillips. Taylor will probably receive a lighter sentence because of his cooperation and that is why his sentencing is scheduled for after the other 3 defendants. Taylor used his winnings for living expenses and back into the fighting operation to pay for food, medicine and supplies. Taylor played a major role in the operation in May 2001 by identifying the Surry County property as a suitable location for housing and training the dogs and signed the articles of incorporation for a business based at the property called MV7 LLC, Vick's initials and jersey number. There was a website http://www.VicksK9Kennels.com (Note: the website has been taken down) that advocates the breeding of pit bulls and presa canarios, and is linked to Vick's company MV7, LLC. The website also stated it sells pit bulls but "We do not promote, support or raise dogs for fighting and will not sell, give, or trade any dog that may be used for fighting". In 2004 and 2006 Surry County records show that kennel licenses were purchased in the name of Tony Taylor for 40-50 dogs. Taylor left the business after a disagreement with Phillips in September 2004.
Charles W. "C.J." Reamon Jr., the nephew of Vick's former high school coach, paid the $50 fee to renew the kennel license in January 2006. Reamon has been arrested twice on charges related to airport security. In 2002, he was one of 21 Norfolk International Airport employees charged with lying about their criminal records on security-clearance applications, in a federal sting operation called "Operation Plane View". Reamon had worked as a Delta Airline baggage handler. Reamon plead guilty to entering an aircraft or airport area in violation of security requirements and was fined $100. Before his guilty plea, he told a federal judge that he was a "financial advisor" to Vick. In August 2006, Reamon was arrested in Newport News for carrying a gun in an airport. He was found guilty in October and received a 6-month suspended sentence.
Reamon was never charged in the dogfighting case.
Over the years, Bad Newz Kennels also bought several fighting dogs that came from all over the country, including South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, New York, Florida, Arizona and Texas.
One of the earliest fights, in the spring of 2002, involved a $500 wager with a dog owner from NC. In March 2003, Peace and Vick sponsored a fight with bets of $13,000 per side, according to the indictment (Indictment document). In April 2007, Vick, Peace and Phillips executed 8 dogs that performed poorly in another testing session according to the Summaries of Facts from Peace (Peace) and Phillips (Phillips). Peace (Peace Plea) and Phillips (Phillips Plea) plead guilty to dogfighting charges on August 17th. They will be sentenced on November 30th. Peace was freed on bail but Phillips is in violation of the terms of his release by failing a drug test and was ordered to remain in jail. Phillips is also on probation for a drug conviction in Atlanta, and the guilty plea could mean more jail time in that case.
Photo's of the others indicted are Tony Taylor, Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips
(Photo's courtesy of Eva Russo/the Associated Press)
The Bad Newz Kennel dogs were fought against other groups, including the "Junior Mafia" of North Carolina, "Show Biz Kennels" of New York and "Hard Core Kennel's according to the indictment and the dogs carried names such as "Maniac, Magic, Chico and Jane".
Vick, Peace, Phillips and Taylor were indicted by a federal jury in a dog-fighting ring on July 17, 2007. The indictments are for conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aide of unlawful activities ("Travel Act") and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture, in violation of federal law. A conviction on the Travel Act conspiracy charge, is 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and full restitution. On the animal fighting conspiracy charge, each defendant faces 1 year in prison, a $100,000 fine or both. The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation seeking recovery of any property constituting or derived from proceeds obtained directly or indirectly as a result of these offenses.
Also as part of his plea agreement, Vick has agreed to aid the government by testifying on its behalf at any grand jury, trials or other proceedings.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell imposed an indefinite suspension on Vick on August 24th. Commissioner Goodell's letter can be read by clicking on the following link Goodell Letter to Vick. The NFL's recently toughened player conduct policy empowers Goodell to fine, suspend or impose a lifetime ban on a player for criminal behavior. For example, Goodell suspended Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones for the 2007 season after he was arrested 5 times since being drafted in 2005. Chris Henry of the Cincinnati Bengal's was suspended for 8 games this year after a 14-month span where he was arrested 4 times and served a previous 2-game suspension for his behavior. Tank Johnson, was also suspended for 8 games for a probation violation related to a gun charge. The Chicago Bears defensive tackle (Johnson) was released in June after he was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. Vick's, the ex-Virginia Tech football star, has a $130 million contract with the Falcons was fined $10,000 by the NFL last season and donated another $10,000 to charity for flashing an obscene hand gesture to heckling Atlanta fans as he walked off the field following a Falcon's loss.
In its 2005 list of the 100 most powerful celebrities, Forbes Magazine ranked Michael Vick No. 33. The Atlanta Falcons quarterback had recently signed a 10-year, $130 million contract that included a $30 million bonus and had endorsement deals with Nike, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Rawlings, Air Tran Airways, EA Sports, Powerade and Hasbro. Two years later, before the latest problems, Vick's appeal was plunging. Vick's negatives were rising and his positive ratings falling. Donruss, one of 4 major trading card companies, has decided to pull Vick's card from any future 2007 releases. Donruss is owned by Ann Powell, whose 5 dogs accompany her to work every day and have virtually free reign inside the company's headquarters.
Vick has had other run ins with the law. A sordid lawsuit accused Vick of knowingly infecting a woman in 2003 with a sexually transmitted disease using the alias "Ron Mexico" while seeking treatment. The lawsuit was settled out of court in 2005. In January, security officers at Miami International Airport seized a water bottle from Vick that they said smelled of marijuana and had a hidden compartment. Authorities later said there were no drugs in the bottle and Vick explained that he used the secret compartment to carry jewelry. In a 2001 profile by The Sporting News, Vick revealed having a pit bull that already had produced 1 litter and said he was trying to start a breeding kennel.
PETA has asked Home Depot Founder and Falcons owner Arthur Blank to suspend Vick pending the investigation and "to kick him off the team if it is found that the dogs on Vick's property were neglected or used for fighting". The HSUS stated they would take a similar stand if criminal charges were filed against Vick.
Other protests over this case comes from American Icons owner, Brian Gray who has removed a Vick autographed photo that once hung on the walls of his memorabilia shop. He encouraged equally outraged community members to follow suit. Throughout the month of August, customers can bring in their Vick merchandise, including trading cards, T-shirts, photos and jerseys to join in the demolition festivities. Gray will be posting updates on the website http://www.aitexas.com to offer details as to when the annihilation will take place. Gray stated "We see this as a grassroots opportunity for the sports fan and animal lovers everywhere to say enough is enough".
The Long Beach CA Armada minor league baseball team held a "Michael Vick Animal Awareness Day", where fans brought a Vick shirt or jersey to be thrown into a bonfire received free admission and a donation in their name to a local animal rights organization.
In Baltimore officials announced a new multi-agency taskforce to crack down on dogfighting in the city.
Other forms of protest are available for review on our websites Opinion-Forum Page at http://www.inhumane.org/opinion_forum
In Texas, beginning September 1, the penalty for dogfighting increases from a Class A misdemeanor to a state felony and punishment for attending a dogfight increases from a Class C to a Class A misdemeanor.
A bill that would have upgraded aggravated cruelty to animals to felony status in Wyoming died in the state Senate during the 2007 session. HB49 would have made animal fighting a felony punishable by imprisonment of up to 2 years and/or a fine of up to $5000. The bill passed the House by a majority vote of 35-25, then went to a Senate subcommittee which approved the bill and placed it on the Senate General File where it died.
Federal prosecutors announced they could be seeking a "superceding" indictment before the end of August, meaning they could identify additional charges or defendants in the case. Authorities found numerous dogfighting related items on Vicks property, including sheds and kennels, treadmills used to condition dogs, a rape stand" used to restrain aggressive female dogs during breeding and a "break"stick used to pry open a dog's mouth during fights. 54 pit bulls were found, some with scars and other injuries consistent with dogfights.
Nike suspended Vick's endorsement contract without pay and Reebok halted sales of Vick's replica jerseys at retail stores and through its website. Air Tran Airways has ended its relationship with Vick, who had been a pitchman for the airline since 2004. Vicks contract ended May 8th and was not renewed because of several off-field incidents. Especially stinging to Air Tran, was that Vick's publicist blamed the airline when the quarterback failed to arrive in Washington to speak before Congress. Air Tran said Vick had ample opportunities to get to his destination on Air Tran but chose not to and placed the blame on them.
Vick will still get his pre-season pay from the Falcon's. Players receive $1,110 per week from the beginning of camp until the first week of the regular football season. Vick's salary for this season would have been $6 million. When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Vick indefinitely and without pay, it opened the doors for the Atlanta Falcon's to "assert any claims or remedies" to recover $22 million of Vick's signing bonus because Vick is now in default of his contract for engaging in personal conduct reasonably judged to adversely affect or reflect on the team.
For now Vick will remain on the Falcon's roster, because in order to collect the signing bonus money, it has to be done through a collective bargaining agreement with the players' union. If Atlanta receives payment, that money will be applied to the salary cap for 2008. That would provide a huge windfall of cap space for the Falcons to use in pursuing free agent players. Being on the roster does not mean the Falcons will have to pay Vick his base salary. Being placed on the suspended list will allow the Falcons to add a player in Vick's place.
If the Falcons terminate Vick's contract, he will lose $71 million in salary over the next 7 years. He also figures to lose as much as $50 million in endorsement income over the next decade. When Vick signed with the Falcon's team owner Arthur Blank called him "A Falcon for life" after he signed the largest contract in league history. The contract calls for Vick to receive a salary of $6 million this season, followed by $7.5 million in 2008, $9 million in 2009, $10.5 million in 2010, $12 million in 2011, $12.5 million in 2012 and $13.5 million in 2013, plus incentive bonuses.
(Photo's courtesy of Gary C. Knapp/Special to the Virginian-Pilot)
In an effort to obtain custody of the 53 pit bulls, federal officials laid out in court papers details of an extensive interstate dogfighting ring. Legal experts said the civil action was the quickest way to get control of the dogs, to keep them safe and as evidence of the crime. See Civil Cover Sheet , Property Seizure Warrant and Forfeiture document for further details. A civil action does not require a grand jury, the prosecutor simply files suit, and once a judge renders relief, the marshals have the authority to seize the dogs immediately. Dogs sized from fighting cases often become targets of theft, some fetching as much as $30,000. The dogs are being housed in kennels in 4 counties, with Surry County taxpayers paying up to $25,000 for their care until the case is over. 14 of the dogs are in Surry, 3 of them had scars to the face, head, ears, chest and front legs and another was taken to the veterinarian immediately because of a birth defect.
(Photo courtesy of the Virginian-Pilot) 66-year-old Gerald G. Poindexter is the county's part-time and lone commonwealth's attorney. Critics charge that Poindexter, who is black, is dragging his feet because of Vick's status as a popular black celebrity. Poindexter says he refuses to be bullied by outsiders or pressured to bring unwarranted charges. Poindexter had inadvertently taken center stage over this case. Poindexter refused to execute a search warrant at Vick's 15-acre property to dig for some 30 dogs purported to be buried on the property. Poindexter said he didn't like the wording in the warrant.
Poindexter may be reluctant to execute the additional search warrant because of a previous dog-fighting case in Surry County that ended when the judge dismissed it saying the search had violated the defendants rights. Poindexter has said he considered it a mistake in moving too quickly and didn't want to do that again. The first search warrant of Vick's property was for a drug investigation after Vick's cousin, who lived at the Moonlight Road address, was arrested on a drug charge in April .
On June 7th, federal investigators, accompanied by state and county authorities searched Vick's property for a 2nd time with a warrant looking for dog carcasses. The search lasted at least 8 hours and involved a backhoe and a U-Hall truck to collect evidence. They found the remains of 7 pit bulls that had been killed. The Federal document was filed in court so authorities could take custody of the 53 pit bulls seized from the property in April.
Vick owns other property in the area. A home in Suffolk's posh Riverfront subdivision is where his mother lives. Also under construction is a home in Governor's Point, an upscale neighborhood on the Nansemond River. When Vick bought the property on Moonlight Road he put a double-wide mobile home on the 15 acres and later built the palatial white brick house.
The Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force (VAFTF) assisted the Virginia State Police and Meherring Drug Task Force with the search warrant on Vick's property on 4/25/07. At the time the evidence seized included:
a number of injured Pit bull dogs - 30 of which were tied to heavy chains attached to car axles buried in the ground bloody strips of carpeting animal fighting paraphernalia including treadmills or slat mills for conditioning a scale with a hook on it to weigh dogs vitamins, dietary and red blood cell supplements to enhance the dogs' condition a diuretic to stimulate urination after a fight animal training and breeding equipment assorted paperwork documenting involvement in animal fighting ventures performance enhancing drugs used to increase the fighting potential in dogs and to keep injured dogs fighting longer other drugs and antibiotics to treat wounds, including syringes guns, illegal ammunition clips, including a gold-metal 45-caliber pistol marijuana
Other agencies involved in this case included:
|Chesapeake ACO||ACO's from Surry, Isle of Wight & Southampton|
|USDA Inspector General||US Attorney's Office|
|Surry County Sheriff's Office||US Marshall's|
|Richmond Police||Hanover County Animal Shelter|
Update 5/07: Peace, called the Surry County Sheriff's Office to report a break-in and theft of TVs and other furniture at Vick's Moonlight Road property.
Update 7/8/07: In February 2007, "C.J." Reamon and Vick were together when Vick was charged with a minor fishing boat sticker violation in Norfolk's Western Branch Reservoir by a Virginia game warden.
(Photo courtesy of WAVY News) Davon T. Boddie, age 27, Michael Vick's cousin (who was the subject of the original search warrant) waived his preliminary hearing on a marijuana possession charge. Boddie was arrested on April 20th in the parking lot of Royal Suite, a nightclub near the Wal-Mart on Cunningham Drive in Hampton. 3 ounces of marijuana were found in his vehicle, and he was charged with possession with intent to sell. Boddie has been out on bail since his arrest. Boddie is also scheduled for a hearing in Newport News on misdemeanor marijuana possession charges stemming from a an arrest made days before his April 20th arrest.
Something that hasn't gotten much attention in this case is that a police dog, a Dutch Shepherd named Troy was what began this entire case. Troy, joined the Hampton, VA police department in 2006. During a patrol outside the nightclub that Boddie was frequenting, Troy alerted his handler that he smelled drugs in the trunk of the car.
Update 8/15/07: As if Vick didn't have enough troubles, a SC inmate has hit Vick with a $63 billion dollar lawsuit alleging Al Qaeda ties. Jonathan Lee Riches filed the handwritten complaint over "theft and abuse of my animals on July 23rd in the US District Court in Richmond, VA. Riches alleges Vick stole 2 white mixed pit bull dogs from his home in Holiday, FL and used them for a dogfighting operations in Richmond, VA. The complaint goes on to allege that Vick sold the dogs on eBay and used the proceeds to purchase missiles from the Iran government after pledging allegiance to Al Qaeda in February of this year. Riches wants $63 billion "backed by gold and silver" delivered to the front gates to the Williamsburg Federal Correctional Facility in SC. Riches is an inmate at the facility serving out a wire fraud conviction. The case is listed as civil action # 3:07CV434 filed with the Clerk of the US District Court in Richmond VA on 7/23/07. View the link at JLRich lawsuit.
Update 8/17/07: The lawsuit filed by Jonathan Lee Riches against Michael Vick was thrown out today. US District Court Judge Willis Hunt in Atlanta threw out the lawsuit calling Riches' claims "farcical".
Judge Hunt noted that Riches has filed 15 lawsuits in 13 different federal courts. Among those sued by Riches, George Bush, Malcolm X, Vanna White, Jimmy Hoffa, Google.com, Pope Benedict XVI, Adolph Hitler's National Socialist Party, the Ming Dynasty, the Statute o Liberty, Michelangelo, the Hubble Telescope, the Magna Carta, Plato, the Tenth Edition of the Merriam Webster Dictionary, Tsunami victims, the Appalachian Trail, Meals on Wheels, Tony Danza and Lambeau Field (home of the NFL's Green Bay Packers).
Riches hand written lawsuit filed 8/3/07 sued, Vick, PETA, a prison warden, the Humane Society a federal judge and others. He claimed the parties were part o a "vast conspiracy to kidnap his mind, hijack his soul with Vick being the ring leader. The lawsuit also claimed Vick had thrown snowballs at Riches car.
Riches is currently serving a 10 year and 5 month sentence in a federal prison in Salters, SC. In 2003 he plead guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy in a US District Court in Houston, TX.
On July 23rd, Riches filed a separate handwritten lawsuit in Richmond, VA against Vick, demanding $62 billion in gold and silver. Riches claims Vick stole his dogs for fighting purposes, opened credit cars in Riches' name and stole his copyrighted property. The suit also claims Vick sold some of Riches' dogs on eBay and "used the proceeds to buy missiles from the Iran government - this lawsuit is still pending. View the link at JLRich lawsuit.
3 other lawsuits filed by Riches have equally been dismissed on the grounds they were frivolous.
(Photo courtesy of Joe Fudge/the Daily Press) No one claimed ownership of the dogs, so they now by default, become the property of the federal government. The ASPCA will lead a team of animal behavior experts in evaluating the dogs removed from Vick's property. Based on these evaluations, recommendations will be made to the USDA regarding the disposition of the dogs. It is estimated that the evaluations will take about 3 weeks. After the evaluation, the US Attorney's Office will make a recommendation to the court on what to do with the dogs. Read the US Attorney Statement of 8/27/07.
Animal Welfare groups from all over the US have offered to help with the dogs. Both PETA and HSUS have recommended euthanasia as the only option for dogs trained to fight. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, offered rehabilitation and its 33,000-acre property as a new home for some of the pit bulls. Best Friends stated "We strongly feel that some of these dogs can be rehabilitated, perhaps not to the point where they could be adopted by families, but to the point where they have a chance to live a fairly normal existence without the threat of every again being exposed to fighting". Bobbie Gribble, president of Animal Rescue of Tidewater, said there are trainers and "dog whisperers" across the country willing to rehabilitate the dogs.
11 dogs which had been at the Surry County Shelter were transferred to the Hanover County animal shelter. 2 of the pit bulls have died while in Surry County custody according to court papers filed by the USDA inspector general. The remaining dogs are at shelters in the cities of Suffolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Hopewell and Sussex County.
(Photo courtesy of the Associated Press) Vick apologized to the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons for "using bad judgment and making bad decision" and voiced to redeem himself after pleading guilt to a dogfighting charge
"First I want to apologize for all the things that I've done and that I have allowed to happen". Vick apologized and admitted he had to grow up and said he had found Jesus.
Vick signed a plea agreement to 1 federal charge relating to dogfighting conspiracy in Virginia. He will be sentenced on December 10, 2007. (See the video of Vick's apology at apology).
Update 8/29/07: The irony of this case is that the case began with a dog named Troy. Troy is a Dutch shepherd who joined the Hampton, VA Police Department last year. During a patrol outside a Hampton nightclub in April, Tory alerted his handler that he smelled drugs in the trunk of a car. Police found marijuana in the car, which turned out to belong to Vick's cousin Davon Boddie. After arresting Boddie, police got a search warrant for the home address he listed, 1915 Moonlight Road. The address of the property is owned by Michael Vick. The search of the property found the 66 dogs and evidence of dogfighting.
Update 9/26/07: Vicks order setting conditions of his pretrial release was amended today because Vicks admitted smoking marijuana will out on bail. The amended pretrial release now includes Vick being subject to random, drug testing, wearing o a sweat patch. Vick was also ordered to continue in a substance therapy program and continue mental health counseling. Vick is also restricted to his home from 10pm to 6am. The home confinement will include electronic monitoring of which Vick must pay all or part of the costs of the program.
Update 10/4/07: Davon Boddie, Michael Vick's cousin who started the whole ball rolling in this dogfighting case plead guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to sell. 27-year-old Boddie was given a 5 year suspended sentence by the Hampton Circuit Court. Even though Boddie lived in the house where the dogfighting ring was housed, he was not charged with animal cruelty
Update 12/4/07: Peace who was sentenced to 18 months in jail said he wanted "to express my deepest remorse for my actions" in letters to Judge Henry Hudson. "I have asked God and my family to forgive me, but I would also like to ask you, the public, and everyone else that I have affected and or offended not to just pardon me, but to try and understand I am not without sin, and I am more than just the dog slayer the world has come to know me as", the letter stated. Accompanying Peace's letter were 5 others from friends, his girlfriend, his girlfriend's mother and his 13-year-old daughter. "If he goes to jail, it is going to be the hardest thing on Earth for me to get over, because I have been living with him nearly my whole life," wrote Zanterria Peace. Zanterria moved in with her father when she was 6-years-old.
Update 12/07/07: Vick's 4,600 square foot home will be auctioned off on 12/15/07. The value of the home is placed between $750,000 and 1.5 million. A builder, Wilbur Ray Todd, Jr. bought the house for $450,000 when Vick's troubles began earlier this year.
Update 12/10/07: Appearing before US District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson today, Vick stated "he was willing to deal with the consequences and accept responsibility for his actions. Judge Hudson stated "you were a full partner and equally culpable" and "I'm not convinced you've fully accepted responsibility". "You were instrumental in promoting, funding and facilitating this cruel and inhumane sporting activity", Judge Hudson told Vick. Two of Vick's co-defendants, Purnell Peace received 18 months and Quanis Phillips received 21 months. Tony Taylor will be sentenced on 12/14/07.
(Photo is artist rendering, author unknown) According to the courts Sentencing Minutes, Vicks was sentenced on 1 indictment with a prison sentence of 23 months with a supervised release for 3 years along with a $5,000 fine. Vick must also participate in drug/alcohol treatment and waive all rights o confidentiality regarding substance abuse. He is also not allowed to purchase, possess or sell any canines. Vick must also pay some $928,000 for the care of the dogs seized from his property.
Vicks turned himself in on 11/19/07 in anticipation of his sentence. There is no parole in the federal system, but rules governing time of for good behavior could reduce Vick's prison stay by about 3 months, resulting in a summer 2009 release.
Vick faces separate state charges in Surry County, VA. He will speak out against dogfighting once he gets out of prison stated his lawyer, Larry Woodward. Woodward went on to say that Vick will focus his attention on trying to satisfy NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the 32 owners of NFL franchises. Vick will miss at least 2 football seasons while in jail. The earliest he could return would be the 2009 season. However, Commissioner Goodell has given no indication when he will lift his indefinite suspension, meaning he ma not be able to return - should he find a team interested --until 2010. When asked if Vick wants to play in the NFL again, Woodward answered, "Absolutely".
The 47 remaining pit bulls seized from Vicks dogfighting operation are being placed with rescue organizations. Judge Henry Hudson signed off on recommendations by the court appointed guardians for the dogs. 22 of the dogs will go to Best Friends Animal Society in Utah and 10 to Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls in California. The remaining dogs will go as follows: 4 to the Richmond Animal League, Richmond, VA; 3 to the Georgia SPCA in Suwanne, GA; 3 to the SPCA of Monterey County, CA; 3 to Recycled Love, Inc. in Baltimore, MD, 1 to Animal Rescue of Tidewater, in Chesapeake, VA and 1 to Our Pack, Inc.
1 of the original 53 dogs was euthanized for medical reasons while the remain 5 were sent to interim foster care for training and assessment or were transferred to a Washington DC shelter for continued evaluation.
In July, the United States filed a civil forfeiture action relating to Vick's 53 pit bulls. On October 15th, the court appointed Valparaiso University School of Law Professor Rebecca J. Huss, Guardian/Special Master of the dogs. Because of the ongoing criminal case, Professor Huss cannot disclose information about the dogs until at least January 25, 2008.
Update 12/14/07: Michael Vick was recently allowed to go home for the birth of his third child. This was learned through a letter Vick wrote to Judge Henry Hudson where he also tried to explain why he violated his probation and failed the drug test (Vick tested positive for marijuana). Vick stated in the letter he used the marijuana after his father did a tell-all story with the media. His defense was he could not cope. Further Vick goes on to say that the dogs involved in his dogfighting case were well cared for and in good health.
Vick also mentioned that in July he purchased a church for his pastor. He promised to be a better "father, son, brother and role model in the future and will continue to assist PETA in being an advocate against dogfighting and animal cruelty and ended with a plea to be given a second chance.
Judge Henry Hudson received several letters in support of Vick from such notables as Hank Aaron, George Foreman, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Give Life Foundation, President and CEO Patrick Hughes.
Kenneth Shapiro, Ph.D., executive director of the Animal and Society Institute, wrote an article about Vick's conviction and was disappointed to see that he was not required to get psychological counseling along with the jail time, fines, probation and drug treatment.
Dr. Shapiro talked about a program called AniCare which was developed in 1999 and is today used in more than 30 states. Training workshops are used to educate social workers, mental health clinicians, criminal justice officers and others about the need to assess and treat those convicted of animal cruelty. The program uses a cognitive-behavioral approach that reacquires juvenile and adult offenders to be accountable for their violent behavior and learn other ways of dealing with the world.
(Photo courtesy of Steve Helber, The Associated Press) Taylor the 4th associate in the Vick case and key witness was sentenced to 2 months in prison and 3 years probation. Judge Henry Hudson did not levy a fine against Taylor, because he has no money and owes $55,000 in child support. Taylor will however be charged a $100 special assessment. After prison and while on probation he will not be allowed to own dogs.
Prosecutors had recommended that Taylor receive only probation with no jail time because he was instrumental in bringing forth evidence in the case.
Taylor apologized for what he called inhumane and stupid decisions. "I have tried to get things back in order" he said. "My wife and me got back together. I'm trying to move forward with my life and put this behind me".
Taylor's prison term will begin January 22, 2008.
Update 12/19/07: Just when I thought we were done documenting this casefile yet another thing has come up regarding the Vick case.
Roddy White and 4 other Atlanta Falcons were fined by the NFL for violating uniform regulations with tributes to Michael Vick during a monday night football game. After scoring a touchdown, White displayed a "Free Mike Vick" T-shirt under his jersey. Tight end Alge Crumpler, cornerback's DeAngelo Hall and Chris Houston were fined $10,000 each. Crumpler, Hall and Houston all wore black eye strips with written tributes to Vick, which the league called "displaying an unauthorized personal message". Wide receiver Joe Horn was fined $7,500 for pulling up White's jersey to show the black T-shirt with handwritten white lettering. Hall also had a poster of Vick on the field during pre-game introductions. By the way the Falcon's lost the game 34-14.
Update 1/25/08: A man who sold a female pitbull to Michael Vick's dogfighting operation and attended some of the fights avoided prison time because he cooperated with investigators and did not physically harm any of the dogs.
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.
"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.
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," said prosecutor Michael Gill. 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 pitbull named Jane, one of dozens of dogs seized by authorities during the raid. 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."
Update 3/21/08: Oscar Allen also known as "Virginia O" in 2001, sold a dog named Jane to Michael Vick for dogfighting. Allen also attended dogfighting events at Vicks property and even helped train some of the dogs to fight. Allen plead guilty in Federal court in October, 2007 to conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of illegal gambling and to sponsor a dog in animal fighting. Vick hosted fights for Allen in 2002. Allen participated in the training and testing of the dogs, according to the court documents but did not participate in the execution of up to 8 dogs by Vick and his other co-defendants.
Allen, age 67, a retired NY transit worker, was given 3 years probation and fined $500 but will see no jail time for his involvement in this case. US Attorney Michael R. Gill told Judge Hudson that Allen "came in and cooperated without any type of immunity and protection...It was a significant factor in [the others'] decision to plead guilty.
Tony Taylor was released from prison on 3/20/08 after completing his 2-month sentence.
Update 7/16/08 from TheDay.com: Of the 49 pit bulls animal behavior experts evaluated in the fall, only one was deemed too vicious to warrant saving and was euthanized. (Another was euthanized because it was sick and in pain.)
More than a year after being confiscated from Vick's property, Leo, a tan, muscular pit bull, visits cancer patients as a certified therapy dog in California. Hector, who bears deep scars on his chest and legs, recently was adopted and is about to start training for national flying disc competitions in Minnesota. Teddles takes orders from a 2-year-old. Gracie is a couch potato in Richmond, Va., who lives with cats and sleeps with four other dogs.
Of the 47 surviving dogs, 25 were placed directly in foster homes, and a handful have been or are being adopted. Twenty-two were deemed potentially aggressive toward other dogs and were sent to an animal sanctuary in Utah. Some, after intensive retraining, are expected to move on to foster care and eventual adoption.
How can this be? Reports of gruesome pit bull maulings make international news. Pit bulls are one of the few canine breeds thought to be so dangerous that they are banned in some places.
The answer, says Frank McMillan, a veterinarian who is studying the recovery of some of the Vick dogs, is that we don't know. “We've assumed all pits are the same, and we've never let this many fighting dogs live long enough to find out. There are hardly ever studies, because these animals don't survive,” he said.
Classic fighting pit bulls, part bulldog and part terrier, were bred to be friendly to people and aggressive with other dogs. Their ability to withstand great pain and keep fighting is a quality prized as “gameness.”
But with an explosion in urban street fighting, some pit bulls are being trained to go after animals and people. Evaluators said that when they walked into the kennels where the Vick dogs were being held in the fall, they weren't sure what to expect.
”I thought, if we see four or five dogs that we can save, I'll be happy,” said Randy Lockwood, an animal behaviorist with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Instead, they found dogs with behaviors that ran the gamut. Some would lick human hands but lunge at other dogs. Some almost immediately went into play mode with other dogs, wagging their tails and crouching down on their front legs in a play bow. “Some actually perked up and developed more confidence only around other dogs,” said Rebecca Huss, a law professor and animal law expert who was appointed by the court to oversee the evaluations and determine the dogs' fates. “They actually seemed happier around other dogs.”
Isolation, not aggression
Some of the dogs were scarred. All were sick and malnourished. Once it became clear that the dogs might be allowed to live, evaluators gave them names: Iggy, Zippy, Cherry Garcia, Hazel, Little Red, Uba, Squeaker, Big Fella, Handsome Dan, Ginger, Ernie, Alf.
”One of the things that struck us immediately was that these dogs were more like the dogs we see rescued from animal hoarding situations,” Lockwood said. “Their main problem was not aggressiveness but isolation.” Loud noises startled them. A light coming on made them jump.
All that the dogs seemed to know about people was that they were to be feared.
Witness Sweet Pea, a cinnamon-colored dog with a pleat of wrinkles above her eyes and who was hiding under the desk of the Frederick, Md., animal acupuncturist trying to treat her for anxiety. Fred Wolfson dimmed the office lights. Soft flute music wafted through wall speakers. Wolfson held out his hand for Sweet Pea to sniff. When she would not budge, he sat on the floor and took his bowl of needles to her.
Sweet Pea began to pant.
”She pants when she's nervous,” said Stacy Leipold, who volunteers with the Baltimore-based animal rescue organization Recycled Love and is fostering Sweet Pea in her home. “I thought for a very long time she was just a hot dog.”
As Wolfson rubbed the dog's head and felt along her spine for the proper relaxation points, Leipold explained that Sweet Pea was little more than a lump when she came to her home in December. She rarely left her crate. If she did, it was to hide under a desk. She had to be carried outside to do her business. Over time, with Leipold meticulously tracking her behavior, Sweet Pea began to pace in a circle and wag her tail when she realized it was time for a walk. Still, one of her favorite places is the landing on the basement stairs. That way, up or down, she has two routes of escape.
Five needles and 12 minutes later, Sweet Pea stopped trembling.
Sweet Pea is not what Vick, who is serving a 23-month prison sentence in Leavenworth, Kan., called this dog. We don't know what he called her, or whether he had a name for her at all. One of the few names that appeared in court papers was Jane, one of the first pit bulls Vick bought in 2001 to start Bad Newz Kennels. The Humane Society of the United States found results for some of Bad Newz's dogfights in underground magazines. They show that Vick's Homicide lost to Maniac. Vick's Bandit lost to Red Rover. And Vick's Mike-Mike lost, after fighting for 3 hours 5 minutes, to Dragon.
But no one knows who most of these dogs are, or whether they are even alive. Jane is. She is now called Georgia. Her jaw is crooked, having been broken at least once, and her tongue sticks out. She is covered in scars, and her teeth have all been pulled. By court order, she will live out her days in Dogtown, at the Best Friends Animal Society's 3,700-acre sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. So will Lucas, a tail-wagging, 60-pound dog who evaluators suspect was Vick's grand champion fighter.
They are two of 22 dogs who were deemed worth saving but who showed enough animal aggression that they could be held only in a tightly controlled sanctuary. At Best Friends', McMillan, the veterinarian, has developed a “personalized emotional rehabilitation plan” for each dog and measures how they exhibit such traits as aggression, fearfulness, calmness or friendliness. True to their “people soft” nature, all but two of the Vick dogs are on “green collar,” meaning they are open and friendly to human visitors. About nine have begun to have supervised play dates with other Vick dogs.
The remaining 25 Vick dogs were given to seven animal rescue organizations across the country, which placed them in experienced foster homes. A number have since passed the American Kennel Club's 10-part Canine Good Citizenship test. Many are in the process of being adopted.
Sharon Cornett, a member of the Richmond Animal League's board, agreed to foster Gracie and is now adopting her. “I adore this dog. She is just a love bucket. She loves people and animals unconditionally,” Cornett said. She has four other dogs. All of them sleep together at night. “Gracie is not what the public perception has been of a fighting pit bull.”
Still, Cornett and other pit bull rescuers say that they never leave the dogs unsupervised with other animals. And rehabilitating a fighting pit is not for everyone: You have to know what you're doing, they say.
John Goodwin, a dogfighting expert with the Humane Society and a proponent of euthanizing fight dogs, is skeptical of the emerging reports of the Vick dog recoveries. Fighting is in their blood, he said. Retrievers retrieve. Shepherds herd. And pit bulls fight. “The behavior is bred into them,” he said. “These groups are not rehabilitating these dogs. They're training them to behave in a more socialized manner. But these pit bulls should never be left alone with other dogs, because you never know when that instinct to fight another dog is going to surface.”
Tim Racer, one of the founders of Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit bulls, or BAD RAP, who before taking in 10 Vick dogs had evaluated and retrained 400 pit bulls over the past 10 years, disagrees. Yes, there are pit bulls who have fought, attacked and mauled other animals and people. But so have other breeds. And incidents almost always have been traced to negligent or abusive owners, he said.
Racer said it is not surprising that many of the dogs get along so well with other dogs. Just as the urge to fight is in their blood, so, too, is the need to get along. “You have 150 years of man trying to produce an aggressive dog. But you have tens of thousands of years of Mother Nature preceding that,” he said. “Dogs are pack animals. They survived because of their pack. ... It's hard-wired into their genes that they do no harm to each other.”
Indeed, long before a glowering pit bull came to symbolize tough guy vogue, pit bulls, or American Staffordshire terriers, were the all-American dog. In the Civil War era, they were known as nurse dogs because they were so good with children. Pit bulls sold war bonds, earned medals in World War I and starred in such TV shows as “The Little Rascals.”
All the more reason, Racer and other rescuers say, to look at each dog individually. “Every thoroughbred is not a great racehorse. Every pit bull, even if it's of fighting stock, is not an aggressive dogfighter,” said Steve Zawistowski, an animal behaviorist with the ASPCA who helped assess the Vick dogs. “There are no simple answers.”
As with any celebrity case, the legacy of the Vick bust has been far-reaching. Dogfighting raids across the country have tripled in the past year. Hundreds of law enforcement officers have been trained to detect the signs of underground rings. And, in some cases, officials have asked pit bull behavior experts to evaluate seized fighting dogs rather than automatically euthanizing them. But most dogfighters don't have the kind of money that Vick did. So even those deemed worthy of a second chance don't always get one.
Charlie, Denzel, Halle, Oscar, Sox, Ray, Frodo, Aretha.
They, it turns out, are the lucky ones.
Update 7/22/08: Taylor's trial for state dogfighting charges will be on September 23, 2008 in Surry County Circuit Court.
Taylor has already served a 2-month federal prison term for his role in Vick's dogfighting enterprise.
Taylor is charged with beating or killing or causing dogs to fight other dogs, and engaging in or promoting dogfighting. Both charges are felonies punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Vick and the other co-defendants face the same charges, but can't be tried until they finish serving their federal prison terms.
Update 11/25/08: Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, already serving a prison sentence for federal dogfighting charges, pleaded guilty to a state dogfighting.
Vick was in a Virginia court room and entered his guilty plea in an effort to hasten his early release. He is currently serving a 23-month jail sentence in Leavenworth, Kansas for the federal offense and could be released to a federal halfway house in July.
Without the resolution of the state charges, Vick would not have been eligible for release to a halfway house.
The plea comes after an agreement with Surry County officials. Vick was given a three-year prison sentence, which will remain suspended if good behavior guidelines are followed. One other charge involving animal cruelty was dropped.
Update 7/15/10: The trustee in Michael Vick's bankruptcy case is seeking repayment of at least $2 million that the NFL quarterback doled out to friends and family members in the months before he was sent to federal prison for running a dogfighting operation.
A complaint filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newport News says Vick knew his lucrative career was in jeopardy and that he would be facing huge legal bills, yet he continued to shower friends and relatives with gifts and cash. Those assets, trustee Joseph J. Luzinski argues, should have gone to Vick's creditors.
Attorneys for both Vick and the trustee say such filings are not unusual in complicated Chapter 11 cases like Vick's.
"We are not suing Mike Vick or accusing Mike Vick of fraud," said Luzinski's attorney, Ross Reeves. "This is about the proper distribution of assets Vick had before his bankruptcy."
Vick's bankruptcy attorney, Paul Campsen, called the filing "a garden-variety attempt to collect money." He said Vick fully disclosed the transfers, did nothing wrong and will continue to cooperate with the bankruptcy court.
Vick claimed about $20 million in debt when he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2008, while he was serving a 23-month sentence at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan. Last summer, a bankruptcy judge approved a plan that allows Vick to keep $300,000 of his $5.2 million salary from the Philadelphia Eagles with the rest going to creditors.
The trustee's complaint seeks reimbursement from Vick's mother, Brenda Boddie; his fiancee and the mother of two of his children, Kijafa Frink; his brother, Marcus; his sister, Christina N. Vick; another relative, Terrance Vick; the mother of his first child, Tameka Taylor; and friends Tommy Reamon and Charles W. Reamon Jr.
"By engaging in the illegal conduct leading to his indictment, the Debtor knew he was engaging in activities certain to pose a threat to his employment and his assets," the trustee's complaint says. That threat became a certainty in April 2007, when Vick learned about the federal investigation, Luzinski wrote.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Vick, who at the time was the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, shortly before Vick pleaded guilty in August 2007. The commissioner conditionally reinstated Vick in July 2009, a week after Vick was released from federal custody. Vick signed with the Eagles a month later.
Goodell is again reviewing Vick's status after a co-defendant in the dogfighting case, Quanis Phillips, was shot and wounded outside a Virginia Beach nightclub as a birthday party for Vick was ending. Authorities have said Vick left shortly before the shooting and was not involved, but Goodell and the Eagles have said they are reviewing the matter.
Update 9/1/10: The investigation into last week's Virginia Beach shooting near a birthday party for Michael Vick may still lead police to the guest of honor.
Police say Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, has not been ruled out as a suspect or person of interest in a nightclub shooting that landed one of the co-defendant's in Vick's dogfighting case in the hospital as the party was breaking up.
"I don't want to say either way as to what [Vick's] involvement is," police spokesman Adam Bernstein told The Associated Press. "Everyone wants me to give him a label him because of who he is."
One of the conditions of Vick's probation is to avoid the company of other felons. Though the name of the shooting victim has not been released by police, Vick's attorney, Larry Woodward, has stated the victim was Quanis Phillips, who served a 21-month prison sentence for his part in Vick's dogfighting case. Woodward said earlier this week that Phillips was not invited to the party, and that Phillips and Vick did not interact.
Update 3/28/11: Quanis Phillips has been sent back to prison for 11 months for violating terms of his supervised release, including talking to the Michael Vick at a Virginia Beach nightclub last summer and then lying to his probation officer about it.
U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson told Quanis Phillips he had "failed miserably" during the past year, citing a list of transgressions: failing to report run-ins with police, failing a drug test, refusing to attend a mandatory mental health appointment and being convicted of reckless driving and driving on a suspended license.
Phillips admitted all the violations, including his contact with Vick at the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback's birthday bash. Hudson noted that the terms of Phillips' probation prohibited him from having any contact with his co-defendants in the dogfighting case.
"He was at an event he was not supposed to attend," Hudson told Phillips' attorney, federal public defender Valencia Roberts, who urged the judge to sentence Phillips at the middle of the guideline range of five to 11 months.
Federal prosecutor Michael Gill sought the maximum under the guidelines, noting that Phillips not only contacted Vick but also lied about it when questioned by his probation officer. Phillips was shot in the leg outside the event, and he failed to report being questioned by police about that and other run-ins, according to the probation officer. Nobody was charged in the shooting, which occurred after Vick left the party.
Roberts said Phillips didn't understand that he needed to report his contact with police the night of the shooting because "it was in the context of him being a victim of crime." She also said Phillips skipped the mental health appointment because he is a private man and "he didn't believe he had a mental health problem." She acknowledged that his recent positive test for marijuana was a setback.
In 2007, Phillips was sentenced to 21 months in prison and three years of probation for his role in the Vick dogfighting case.
Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison and three years of probation. He served 18 months in a federal penitentiary and two months on home confinement before resuming his NFL career.
He had a Pro Bowl season for the Eagles after taking over as the starting quarterback last fall.
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