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PETITION TARGET: Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Bowen Mize

UPDATE (11/24/21): The Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia on January 29 indicted 11 individuals on allegations of drug-related and dog-fighting-related violations: Jarvis Lockett, 40, of Warner Robins, Georgia; Derrick Owens, 37, of Woodland, Georgia; Christopher Raines, 50, of Talbotton, Georgia; Armard Davis, 41, of Fort Valley, Georgia; Jason Carter, 38, of Phoenix City, Alabama; Shaquille Bentley, 26, of Roberta, Georgia; Bryanna Holmes, 24, of Fort Valley, Georgia; Vernon Vegas, 49, of Suwanee, Georgia; Lekey Davis, 45, of Talbotton, Georgia, Kathy Ann Whitfield, 61, of Columbus, Georgia; and Rodrick Walton, 40, of Shiloh, Georgia. Additional individuals also have been charged and sentenced since then.

Since then, according to records from the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) database of federal cases and a Department of Justice press release:

SENTENCED

  • Owens pleaded guilty on July 7 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture. He has been sentenced to 120 months imprisonment (10 years), 5 years of supervised release, and fined $30,200. During probation, he’s not allowed to gamble or own animals and also must participate in a drug and alcohol testing and treatment program.
  • Carter pleaded guilty on April 26 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. He was sentenced on Oct. 6 to 97 months (8 years and one month) imprisonment, three years of supervised release and a $100 mandatory assessment fee. During probation he must participate in a drug and alcohol testing and treatment program. 
  • Bentley pleaded guilty on April 8 to conspiracy to use a communication facility in violation of federal law. Bentley was sentenced on Nov. 4 to 13 months (one year and one month) imprisonment, a $100 mandated assessment fee,  and one year of supervised release, with mandated participation in a drug and alcohol testing and treatment program.
  • Holmes pleaded guilty on April 27 to using a communication facility in violation of federal law and was sentenced on Sept. 9 to a $100 mandated assessment fee and 36 months (3 years) probation, during which she must participate in a drug and alcohol testing and treatment program. 
  • L.Davis pleaded guilty on Aug. 13 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and was sentenced on Nov. 5 to 210 months (17.5 years) imprisonment, supervised release for four years (to include drug and alcohol testing and treatment), and a $100 mandatory assessment fee. 
  • Walton pleaded guilty on March 29 to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture and was sentenced on July 19 to 24 months (2 years) imprisonment, a $100 assessment fee, and three years of supervised release — the terms of which prohibit Walton from gambling or owning animals. He’ll also have to participate in a drug and alcohol testing and treatment program. 
  • Shelley Johnson, of Macon, Georgia, was sentenced to 37 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $25,000 fine after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture. As a condition of his supervised release, Johnson is prohibited from owning or possessing dogs. There is no parole in the federal system.
  • Raines pleaded guilty on July 20 to counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture. He faced life imprisonment, a max fine of $10 million, and five years of supervised release and was sentenced to serve 135 months of imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine.
  • Lockett pleaded guilty on Oct. 7 to distribution of cocaine and conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture. He faced a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, a max fine of $1 million, and supervised release of up to three years and was sentenced to serve 10 years of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release.
  • Vegas — a well-known dog-fighting trainer, and owner of Cane Valley Kennels, according to the Attorney’s Office — pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture on Sept. 14. He faced a maximum five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release and was sentenced to serve the maximum five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and pay a $10,000 fine.
  • Reginald Crimes, 39, of Preston, Georgia, was sentenced to serve two years of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture.
  • Lee Benney, 55, of Reynolds, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 21 months of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture.

PENDING

  • A.Davis, who has pleaded not guilty, has a case still pending.

We’ll continue to watch the court proceedings. —Lady Freethinker Staff

*

Federal investigators found over 160 dogs riddled with scars and broken bones while investigating 11 Georgia properties suspected of participating in a state-wide dogfighting operation.

Injured, malnourished, and distressed, some of the dogs seized by authorities are in desperate need of serious medical care. One overbred female pitbull was starving and chained up with broken legs, according to ABC4.

For their safety, all the canines were taken to undisclosed, out-of-state locations.

“Illegal dogfighting is a barbaric activity,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “Those who choose to violate the Animal Welfare Act face serious consequences, including federal prison time, where there is no parole.”

It is imperative that justice is served for the dogs subjected to such a torturous criminal operation, showing that dogfighting will not be tolerated. Sign this petition urging Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Bowen Mize to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law, including a life-long ban on having animals.