RICHMOND, Va. – The state trials of Michael Vick and three co-defendants on dogfighting charges will be delayed until the men are freed from federal prison, the Surry County prosecutor said Monday.
"We don't intend to go forward until these guys are released," Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Poindexter said in a telephone interview.
Vick, the former NFL quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, is serving a 23-month prison sentence at Leavenworth, Kan., after pleading guilty to dogfighting conspiracy charges. He was to be tried in Surry County on June 27.
Quanis Phillips, who is serving time in Oklahoma, was scheduled for a non-jury trial on June 13, and Purnell Peace was to be tried on June 20. Peace is serving his sentence in New Jersey.
"It's not worth the expense," Poindexter said, for Surry County to pay to have two deputies travel to each of the states and escort the prisoners back for their trial, and then escort them back to prison, or for U.S. marshals to do it and then have the county cover their expenses.
Only one of the four defendants, Tony Taylor, has already been released. His trial in Surry County is now scheduled for July 26.
All four are charged with beating or killing or causing dogs to fight other dogs, and engaging in or promoting dogfighting, both felonies.
Each felony is punishable by up to five years in prison.
The three imprisoned men all are projected for release next year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. Phillips, 28, is expected to be released Feb. 22; Peace, 38, on April 22; and Vick, 27, on July 20.