One of the defendants in a widely publicized horse soring case will have to write an article about the practice, a federal judge has ordered.
John Mays, 50, pleaded guilty Monday to a single count of conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and was sentenced to time served -- four months, a special assessment of $25 and instructions from U.S. District Judge Harry S. Mattice to write an article about horse soring for the "community service" portion of his sentence.
Mays, who will also be on probation for one year, was indicted in March along with Jackie L. McConnell, 60, Jeff Dockery, 54, and Joseph R. Abernathy, 30, and all have pleaded guilty to violations of the HPA. McConnell, Dockery and Abernathy will hear their sentences on Sept. 10.
Last Thursday, a document pertaining to Mays' presentencing report in the case was ordered sealed by Judge Mattice.
Mattice told Mays on Monday to explain in his article "how widespread" the practice of soring is, to describe the different types of soring, the impact it has on the horses and also to report "who seeks out" the practice.
No details about the judge's intentions for the article are known.
Mays was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service in April after he violated conditions of his release by "absconding from supervision" and providing the court with an "unknown" home address, according to testimony from U.S. Probation Officer Christa Heath.
At the time he was in federal custody, Mays had asked to be sentenced earlier than his co-defendants, pointing out that he had no criminal record and would have had to serve five months before his previous September sentencing date, stating "this is more punishment than is warranted."