Bribery and animal fighting: 11 Eastern Kentuckians sentenced to federal prison
Lexington, Ky.–Eleven people have been sentenced to federal prison in the Eastern District of Kentucky for their participation in animal fighting offenses. The latest two individuals, Jerrard McVey and Linda McVey, both of Carlisle, Kentucky, were sentenced to 12 months and a day in federal prison for their role in knowingly sponsoring and exhibiting animals in an animal fighting venture called The Valley. The McVeys conspired with others, including Walter Mitchell of Ewing, Kentucky, to organize multiple animal fighting ventures in the form of cockfights.
According to their plea agreements, the McVeys and others organized and managed an animal fight on July 30, 2021, that included at least a dozen entries in a 5-cock fight, and approximately 100 attendees. Mitchell was previously sentenced in March 2023 and received six months in prison and one year of supervised release.
In addition to the McVeys and Mitchell, eight other individuals were sentenced for their involvement in animal fighting offenses in the Eastern District of Kentucky. Cruz Alejandro Mercado-Vazquez of Maysville, Kentucky, was sentenced to 15 months incarceration, 3 years supervised release, and a $10,000 fine for attempting to bribe the Mason County Sheriff to influence the Sheriff in connection with a planned animal fighting venture.
Timothy Sizemore of Manchester, Kentucky, was sentenced to 26 months incarceration, 2 years supervised release, and a $1,000 fine for his role in running an animal fighting venture in Manchester called Riverside and an animal fighting venture in Pike County called Blackberry. His co-defendant in running Riverside, Millard Oscar Hubbard of Manchester, Kentucky, was sentenced to 12 months and one day incarceration, 2 years supervised release, and a $95,000 fine. A referee at Riverside, Justin Smith of Manchester, Kentucky, was sentenced to 1 month incarceration, 18 months supervised release, and a fine of $250. The owner of the property on which Blackberry operated, Perry Hatfield, was sentenced to 8 months home detention and 2 years supervised release. Individuals who worked at Riverside, Beachel Collett of Oneida, Kentucky, and Lester Collett of Manchester, Kentucky, were sentenced to 4 months home detention and 18 months supervised release.
In another case involving an animal fighting operation in London, Kentucky, called Bald Rock, Rickie Johnson of London, Kentucky, was sentenced to 2 months in prison, followed by 8 months home incarceration, 2 years of supervised release, and a $1,000 fine, for his role in running Bald Rock. Several individuals who fought roosters at Bald Rock were also sentenced. Joshua Westerfield of London, Kentucky, was sentenced to 3 months in prison, 6 months home detention, and 2 years supervised release. Dallas Cope of Livingston, Kentucky, and Bradley Cye Rose of Parkers Lake, Kentucky, were each sentenced to 14 days in prison, 9 months home detention, and 18 months supervised release. Hiram B. Creech, Jr. of East Bernstadt, Kentucky, was sentenced to a year of probation and a $2,000 fine for causing a minor to attend the animal fighting venture at Bald Rock.
“Animal fighting ventures are cruel and illegal,” said Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “We will continue to enforce federal animal cruelty laws and we commend the valuable assistance of all our law enforcement partners, whose dedicated work made these important convictions possible.”
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