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Friday, May 6, 2016

McConnell changes plea in HPA case

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Tennessee Walking Horse trainer charged with violations of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) announced Tuesday his intention to plead guilty to one of the charges.

In a notice filed in federal court, Jackie L. McConnell, 60, stated he intends to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate the HPA.

The notice stated that federal prosecutors intend to move for dismissal of all remaining charges in the 52-count indictment. McConnell executed a written plea agreement that has been agreed to by both sides in the case.

McConnell had been indicted in March, along with Jeff Dockery, 54, John Mays, 50, and Joseph R. Abernathy, 30, with conspiracy to violate the HPA.

According to the U.S. Code, penalties for violating the HPA in this regard carries a maximum fine of $5,000, a prison sentence of up to three years, or both.

A change of plea hearing has been scheduled for May 22 before U.S. Magistratate Judge William B. Mitchell Carter.

Bond issue

Plea agreements were due from the four on Tuesday. If McConnell had not made the deal, a pre-trial hearing would have taken place on May 14, with the trial itself starting on the 22nd.

However, according to the U.S. District Court calender, Dockery and Mays are still scheduled to appear before a federal judge next Monday.

Last week, a bond revocation hearing was held for Mays and he was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshall Service.

According to testimony from U.S. Probation Officer Christa Heath, Mays violated the conditions of his release by "absconding from supervision" and providing the court with an unknown home address.

"Based on the defendant's violation, I conclude the defendant is a risk of flight," Judge Carter wrote.

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