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Thursday, Feb 7, 2008County: Fayette
Charges: Felony CTA
» Mark Anthony Johnson
» James Edward Holcomb, Jr.
» Perry Emmanuel Wells
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
A Fayette County man was arraigned this morning [Aug 11, 2008] on charges of animal cruelty for alleged dog fighting.
Mark Anthony Johnson, 38, of 213 Frick St., Hiller, was arraigned this morning on felony charges of animal fighting before Brownsville District Judge Michael Defino.
In a criminal complaint, state police at Uniontown said Johnson is one of three men who promoted fights between pit bulls, some at Johnson's Luzerne residence. Police said video footage on a cell phone owned by one of the men shows a fight between two pit bulls in Johnson's kitchen.
The cell phone and other alleged paraphernalia related to dog fighting were removed from Johnson's residence in February when the Fayette County Drug Task Force executed a search warrant for drugs.
Defino was in the process of finishing Johnson's arraignment this morning. The other two men have not yet been arraigned.
|Three men face felony dog-fighting charges after police discovered two scarred pit bulls, a blood-stained fighting pit and video footage of a dogfight in a Fayette County house. |
James Edward Holcomb Jr., 31, of 331 Shelton Ave., Brownsville; Mark Anthony Johnson, 39, of 213 Frick St., Hiller, Luzerne Township; and Perry Emmanuel Wells, 30, of 1234 E. 32nd St., Lorain, Ohio, are charged by state police at Uniontown with cruelty to animals. Wells faces an additional charge of criminal conspiracy.
In a criminal complaint, Trooper Timothy C. Knapp said the Fayette County Drug Task Force discovered the dogs and a fighting pit while executing a search warrant for drugs Feb. 19 at Holcomb's residence.
Police summoned humane officers from the Fayette Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who noticed one of the dogs had scarring on its face, legs, shoulders and neck.
Located in the basement was a penned area that appeared to be a fighting pit, according to the affidavit. Knapp indicated blood stains were found on the floor and walls, as well as on a blanket.
Blood and bite marks were found on wooden sticks and a shovel handle that are believed to have been used as "break" or "parting" sticks, Knapp wrote. Such sticks, according to John Goodwin of the Humane Society of the United States, are inserted into a fighting dog's mouth to force it to release its bite.
According to the affidavit, a cell phone owned by Wells was found to contain video footage from Feb. 7 of two pit bulls fighting. The footage depicts the dogs being "lured together in a kitchen area with what appears to be potato chips," police said.
"Upon the dogs getting near each other, they proceed to fight," Knapp wrote in the affidavit. "At no time did the actors involved separate the dogs by any means."
Two pit bulls that were removed from Holcomb's house are in the custody of the Fayette SPCA. Humane officer Elizabeth Davidson said the dogs, Stress and Laylo, will be euthanized because fighting dogs cannot be adopted out.
The cell-phone video did not show the faces of any people who were in the room, but Knapp indicated he determined they were black males after viewing their arms and listening to their voices.
During an interview with Holcomb at the Fayette County Prison in February, police said Holcomb told them the cell phone belonged to Wells and that the dogfight took place in Johnson's kitchen. Holcomb was in the county jail that month on an unrelated offense, but was later released. He identified one of the dogs in the video as belonging to Wells.
Holcomb told police the other dog belonged to a black male who is a student at Brownsville Area High School. Holcomb told police that Wells, Johnson, Holcomb and the student were present at the fight.
Johnson was arraigned yesterday before Senior District Judge Michael Rubish at the office of Brownsville District Judge Michael DeFino. He was placed in the Fayette County Prison in lieu of $15,000 bond.
Holcomb and Wells are wanted on arrest warrants. Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to call state police at 724-439-7111.
|Source: Pittsburgh Live - Aug 12, 2008|
Update posted on Aug 20, 2008 - 1:43PM
- Pittsburgh Live - Aug 11, 2008
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