Man Sentenced to 102 Years For Dogfighting
By Associated Press
Dothan AL – A Houston County judge has sentenced a Cottonwood man convicted of staging dogfights to 102 years in prison.
Circuit Judge Ed Jackson sentenced Johnny Ray Lewis, 42, at a Tuesday hearing. The jail term represents six years in prison for each of the 17 felony counts. Lewis was convicted by a jury on Sept. 27 of possessing dogs with the intent to train the animals for fighting.
He was also fined $34,000 and faced a possible sentence of a year and a day up to 10 years per charge.
Jackson said he sentenced Lewis to what he called a "mid-range" sentence.
"It is a type of case that is sensitive to the public," he said as he announced the sentence.
Authorities seized 17 pit bulls from his residence in August 2005. All were later euthanized. Lewis was arrested on a similar charge in 1995 but those charges were dismissed.
The Houston County Assistant District Attorney Butch Binford said the case generated e-mails from across the country.
"They were very concerned or upset, and they just thought it was extremely cruel the way these animals were treated," Binford said. "They hoped Judge Jackson would sentence the defendant to a lengthy prison term."
Prosecutors said its likely Lewis will serve at least 34 years in prison.
The federal prison sentence NFL star Michael Vick could face for dogfighting charges pales in comparison to Lewis' sentence. Vick, a former star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, could get up to five years in federal prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 10.
Information from: The Dothan Eagle