ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Authorities say a 50-year-old Capitol Heights, Maryland man was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday for conspiracy to engage in dogfighting.
Editor's Note: This story contains information on violence against dogs that some readers may find disturbing.
From May 2015 through at least August 2020, court documents show that Charles Edward William, III, 50, and other conspirators from Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, used a messaging app private group, which they referred to as "The DMV Board," as a place where they and their associates could discuss training fighting dogs, exchange videos about dogfighting, and arrange dogfights, away from the eyes of law enforcement.
Members of "The DMV Board" also used the app to compare methods of killing dogs that lost fights, share reports about conspirators who had been caught by law enforcement, and discuss methods to reduce the risk that they would be caught themselves.
Authorities say Williams entered multiple dogs into fights.
For example, in March 2018, police say Williams entered a dog into a fight in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Officers broke up that fight and took several weapons and two injured dogs from the warehouse it took place in.
Police also arrested those who were present, including Williams.
In April 2019, Williams and another conspirator, Michael Roy Hilliard, 37, of Fort Washington, Maryland, drove to Bunnlevel, North Carolina with a dog belonging to Williams so that he could enter the dog into a fight, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Authorities say that fight lasted less than 10 minutes before being won by the dog belonging to Williams.
An unknown person shot and killed the dog that lost the fight, according to a news release.
In August 2022, Williams, Hilliard, and five others were indicted for a dogfighting conspiracy involving the “DMV Board.”
In November 2022, Williams, Hilliard, and their co-defendants Derek Garcia and Ricardo Thorne pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Hilliard, Garcia, and Thorne are scheduled to be sentenced in March 2023.
Authorities claim they each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
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