It’s been so hard to find news about the pups. But this might be the beginning of the end.
ST. LOUIS — At least three eastern Missouri men arrested in a multistate federal crackdown on illegal dogfighting are expected to plead guilty next week in federal court.
Documents filed in the case and interviews with the men’s attorneys confirmed that Robert Hackman, 55, of Foley; Teddy Kiriakidis, 50, of Leasburg; and Ronald Creach, 34, of Leslie will plead guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.
Co-defendant Michael Morgan, 38, of Hannibal is set for trial Monday in the same court. His attorney did not respond to phone inquiries about whether he also planned to plead.
A grand jury indicted the four, along with Jack Ruppel, 35, of Eldon, on dogfighting conspiracy and other charges this summer in St. Louis. Ruppel pleaded guilty Sept. 4 in federal court in Jefferson City to a conspiracy charge and to selling an animal for a fighting venture. His attorney, Timothy Cisar, said Ruppel pleaded guilty “because he is guilty.”
A sentencing date has not been set.
Twenty-six people were charged and more than 500 dogs, some of them pregnant, were seized in July following federal raids in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas.
U.S. attorneys in several states accused them of cruelties that included shooting dogs in the head when they didn’t fight well. None of the other cases have advanced to trials or guilty pleas.
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