Crime & Courts

4 plead guilty in Sumter dogfighting case

Cement blocks, chain-link fencing, broken doghouses and crates and a wooden stick hanging by a chain from a tree limb were the only items left from a dogfight in 2009 that sent eight men and one woman to jail.

Four of those defendants pleaded guilty before 3rd Circuit Judge W. Jeffrey Young at the Sumter Judicial Center this week.

"I'm going to feed you out of the same spoon I fed everyone else with," Young told Weldon D. Jackson, the last of three men to plead guilty Wednesday to being present at a dogfight. Young sentenced all four defendants to six months in jail, suspended to a $250 fine to be paid within 90 days.

Jackson, 24, of 1793 Geddings Road in Sumter, was arrested Aug. 9, 2009, along with Milton T. Gaymon, 25, of 7256 Coard Road in Pinewood, and Christopher A. Miller, 26, of 4400 Broad St., Lot 39, and initially charged with dogfighting. Gaymon pleaded guilty on Wednesday, while Miller pleaded guilty Monday to being present at the fight, which occurred the day of their arrest at a home in the 2400 block of Lisbon Drive off Patriot Parkway.

The Sumter County Sheriff's Office estimated that more than 20 people were at the dogfight, but they only arrested seven that day. They arrested two more later, including Shaun Anderson, 28, of American Mobile Home Park, Lot 51, who also pleaded guilty Wednesday to being present at a dogfight.

The men were sentenced based on a recommendation from Assistant Attorney General J. Andrew Ritner.

"All of the defendants (this week) were referred to Sumter PTI (pre-trial intervention), but they did not matriculate for whatever reason," Ritner said.

Six pit bulls were recovered from the fight, but many more ran into a wooded area near the home, Ritner said. Only one other defendant has pleaded guilty to being present at the fight thus far. Tony T. Mickens received the same sentence in early June at the Sumter County Courthouse.

Ritner said charges are still pending against five other defendants. Two of them, Betty J. Simms, 46, and Marion Whitney Simms, 25, both of the home, face felony charges related to holding the dog fight at their home.

Ritner said Wednesday he is unsure when those charges will be resolved in court.