Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Men arrested at alleged cockfight plead not guilty

The Associated Press

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. - Seven men arrested at an alleged cockfight in rural Anderson County pleaded not guilty Monday to an assortment of misdemeanors.

Anderson County District Judge Michael Harrod scheduled a pretrial conference for each defendant on Oct. 21.

Clarence Smith, owner of the property, is charged with promoting gambling.

Police described his barn as seeming to have been built for staging bird fights.

Five men were charged with cruelty to animals - Phillip Jones of Versailles; Joseph Burks and Robert Walls, both of Elizabethtown; Anthany Becknell of Salvisa in Mercer County and Donald French Jr. of Harrodsburg. All allegedly were in the ring during a cockfight.

A seventh defendant, Jeffrey Downs of Cox's Creek in Nelson County, was charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

The charges are Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $500 fine if there is a conviction.

Kentucky State Police made the arrests after two plainclothes officers said they witnessed two fights between roosters.

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