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Jackie McConnell Enters Plea

Jackie McConnell pled guilty to one count of a 52 count indictment in Federal Court and will be back in court September 10 for his sentencing hearing.   McConnell was accused of conspiring to violate the Horse Protection Act for knowingly transporting and entering sored horses in shows from 2006 to 2011.

Also pleading guilty to one count were John Mays and Joseph Abernathy and all three will like face probation for up to six months due to a plea agreement and recommendations of the U.S. Attorney’s office.  McConnell will also have a horse trailer seized by the federal government. 

The other 51 counts in the indictments were dropped.  McConnell could have faced up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  Jeff Dockery, who faces all 52 counts as did McConnell, still has a not guilty plea listed in court records.

Prosecutors cited McConnell’s age, health and federal sentencing guidelines, which are based in part on a person’s prior criminal record, for agreeing to probation.  The guilty plea is not final until U.S. District Court judge Harry S. Mattice, Jr. accepts the agreement.  If Mattice does not accept the plea agreement, McConnell would have the right to withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial.

McConnell also faces state charges related to his treatment of horses.  He is charged in Fayette County with 15 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.  He is scheduled to appear in a Somerville court in June.

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