Home Springfield Press Releases 2009 Dog Fighting Conspiracy Charged in Southern District of Illinois
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Dog Fighting Conspiracy Charged in Southern District of Illinois

U.S. Attorney’s Office July 08, 2009
  • Southern District of Illinois (618) 628-3700

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, IL—A. Courtney Cox, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that on July 7, 2009, William Berry, 34, of Lebanon, Ill.; Derrick Courtland, 42, of Cahokia, Ill.; and John Bacon, 36, Julius Jackson, 40, Joseph Addison, 40, all of East St. Louis, Ill., were charged in a criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit unlawful activities of dog fighting.

The violation is alleged to have taken place between Nov. 18, 2008, and April 18, 2009, in St. Clair and Madison Counties of Illinois. The offense charged carries a potential maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

The defendants were taken into custody and made an appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in East St. Louis on July 8, 2009. Preliminary hearings have been scheduled for Aug. 5, 2009, in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.

A criminal complaint is only a statement of a charge brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Every defendant has a right to be charged by an indictment returned by a grand jury. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent of all charges unless and until he is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In addition to the charges unsealed today in the Southern District of Illinois, related charges were also filed in separate cases arising from the same investigation in the Eastern District of Missouri, the Western District of Missouri and the Eastern District of Texas. Those indictments were also unsealed today following the arrests of defendants in those districts.

Evidence supporting this criminal complaint was gathered in an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General, the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Humane Society of Missouri. This dogfighting investigation is the latest in a series of major animal fighting investigations conducted throughout the country since the passage of the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, signed into law in May 2007, which makes it a felony to participate in the blood sport. The case is assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Hudson and Mike Thompson for prosecution.

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