Friday, November 30, 2007
VICK CO-DEFENDANTS RECEIVE PRISON TERMS
RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) -- The judge who will decide how long Michael Vick stays in prison sentenced two of the fallen NFL star's dogfighting parnters to prison on Friday.
Purnell Peace, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Quanis Phillips, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to 21 months.
Federal sentencing guidelines suggested a year to 18 months. Vick faces the same potential prison time.
U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson, who has presided over the dogfighting case, is not bound by the guidelines. Vick will be sentenced December 10. Tony Taylor of Hampton, Virginia, who was the first to plead guilty, will be sentenced on December 14.
Peace, Phillips and Taylor pleaded guilty last summer and agreed to testify against Vick, prompting the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback to enter his own plea agreement a few days later.
"You may have thought this was sporting, but it was very callous and cruel," U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson told Phillips.
Sentencing guidelines called for punishments of 12 to 18 months for Peace and 18 to 24 months for Phillips, who has a more extensive criminal record.
Prosecutors recommended sentences at the low end of the range because of the co-defendants' cooperation. But Hudson said he felt sentences on the high end of the range were appropriate because of the nature of the crime.
Hudson told Peace that he was concerned because a pre-sentencing report quoted Peace as saying he saw he nothing wrong with dogfighting.
According to court papers, Vick financed virtually the entire "Bad Newz Kennels" dogfighting enterprise at his 15-acre property in Surry County in rural southeastern Virginia and participated in executing several underperforming dogs by drowning, hanging and other means.
Vick publicly apologized for his role in the dogfighting operation and unexpectedly turned himself in Nov. 19 to begin serving his prison term early. He is being held in a state jail in Warsaw, Virginia.
All four men also face state charges. Vick's attorneys this week requested a jury trial, which is set to begin in Ap