Vick, 27, of Atlanta; Purnell A. Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach; Quanis L. Phillips, 28, of Atlanta; and Tony Taylor, 34, of Hampton; have been ordered to appear in court for a detention hearing at 3:30 p.m. and arraignment at 4 p.m. July 26 is also the day Vick's team, the Atlanta Falcons, begins practice.
The four were charged in an indictment yesterday with taking part in "Bad Newz Kennels," a group that operated a dogfighting venture at Vick's property in Surry County from 2001 until about three months ago. The group acquired and trained American pit bulls, entered them in fights elsewhere and hosted fights at the Vick property.
If convicted on all charges the maximum sentence would be six years in prison and a $350,000 fine.
Local authorities in Surry said today they could prosecute different crimes than those charged in the federal indictment.
Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter said a local grand jury, for example, could eventually hand up one or multiple indictments for the killing of a companion animal, which is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. He noted that the federal case against the Atlanta Falcons quarterback and three alleged associates charges conspiracy as part of a dogfighting venture.
Poindexter said he has no plans to summon a special grand jury. The earliest a grand jury would likely consider any possible charges in the case would be late September, he said.
Both Poindexter and Surry Sheriff Harold D. Brown said yesterday they are continuing to cooperate with federal authorities, who stepped in and searched Vick's property in June and again this month after local authorities decided not to execute another search warrant that would have permitted them to look for evidence of dead dogs.
Still, Poindexter and Brown said they were taken aback by the level of detail in the indictments, especially mention of dogs allegedly being executed by hanging, drowning and electrocution. "That's revealing to me. I didn't know anything about that," said Poindexter.