Guilty verdict for man accused of dog fighting - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Guilty verdict for man accused of dog fighting

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
BRANDON, MS (WLBT) - A Rankin County jury quickly reached a verdict in the case of a man accused of dog fighting. The charges and indictment came after deputies raided his Sandhill home, finding pit bulls and dozens of abandoned vehicles.

"I would just ask for you to have mercy on me," Nathaniel Cooper said to Rankin County Circuit Court Judge William Chapman as he awaited sentencing following the jury's decision.

Cooper told the judge he had no knowledge of the intent of others at this home in January of this year when authorities arrested him and others on dog fighting charges.

The 29 year old asked for leniency after a jury found him guilty of one count of dog fighting and one count of conspiracy. His attorneys maintained it was a large gathering of people at a barbeque.

The Rankin County jury deliberated for about an hour and a half before telling the judge that they reached a verdict on one count but not the other.

They were ordered to resume deliberations. Less than 20 minutes later they returned with a guilty verdict on both counts.

"I believe people need second chances, but according to the record I have before me this is his fourth and fifth chance," said Judge Chapman.

"For a jury to return a verdict, what we saw with a witness who was arrested for perjury in the middle of a trial who the witness came out and said I did not conspire with this defendant, I conspired with somebody else to do this. It's a tremendous miscarriage of justice," said Cooper's attorney Thomas Bellinder.

Cooper, who has previously served time for cocaine possession, was immediately denied bond and taken into custody.

He has been sentenced to eight years on both counts which are to run consecutively.

Bellinder plans to appeal.


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