A Surry County grand jury has indicted Michael Vick and his three co-defendants with state charges related to dog fighting.
Vick is charged with one count of beating, killing or causing dogs to fight, and one count of engaging in or promoting dog fighting.
His three co-defendants, Quanis Phillips, Purnell Peace and Tony Taylor, were indicted on similar local charges.
The charges are class six felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $2,500 fine.
The Surry County grand jury did not indict Vick and two of the co-defendants on eight counts of animal cruelty. This would have been punishable up to 40 years in prison if they were convicted.
Surry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter issued this written statement: “These are serious charges and we can assure you that this grand jury was not driven by racial prejudice, their affection or lack of affection for professional athletes, or the influence of animal rights activists and the attendant publicity. The grand jury represents the conscience of the good people of Surry County.”
He asked that the four men be arraigned on October 3 and that each be released on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond.
A Norfolk defense attorney said he was “befuddled” when he learned the grand jury did not indict Vick and the three other men on animal cruelty charges.
“There’s something going on here that I don’t understand. The grand jury is generally regarded by defense attorneys as a rubber stamp,” he said.