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Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

Sentencing rescheduled in soring case

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sentencing for the remaining defendants in a widely publicized horse soring case has been reset for later in September despite objections from federal prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge Harry S. Mattice Jr. has continued sentencing for Jackie L. McConnell, 60, Jeff Dockery, 54, and Joseph R. Abernathy, 30 until Sept. 18 at 2 p.m. EDT at the federal courthouse in Chattanooga.

The three pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act.

Earlier this month, codefendant John Mays was sentenced to time served -- four months, a special assessment of $25 and instructions from Mattice to write an article about horse soring as the community service portion of his sentence.

The original sentencing date had been set for Monday, Sept. 10.

Request denied

On Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven S. Neff filed a motion to keep the sentencing date on the 10th, noting that he and fellow U.S. Attorney Kent Anderson would be out of town on the 18th.

Mattice denied that request late Tuesday.

Neff stated that Mattice may have some "specific questions for the parties regarding the agreement that was reached in this case" and that no other attorneys in their office know enough "to satisfactorily answer the Court's inquiries ..."

Prosecutors also stated they expect to file a sentencing memorandum for at least one of the soring defendants this week.

Neff wrote that they have scheduled a press conference following the conclusion of the sentencing hearing "in order to answer many of the questions which have been raised in the public about this prosecution."