Last July, authorities in South Carolina busted an illegal cockfighting ring in Dorchester Country. Seven men were charged with illegal cockfighting operations and appeared in federal court in Charleston.
On October 19, the jury found one of the seven men arrested, Roosevelt Curry, 68, guilty of exhibiting an animal for fighting which is a federal felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of 250,000 USD.
According to trial testimony, Curry entered eight birds into the fight.
Curry was the only defendant in the federal case who did not plead guilty. His co-defendants entered into plea agreements with the government and testified against him at his trial in the hopes that they receive leniency at sentencing.
The jurors deliberated for hours and found Curry not guilty of conducting an illegal gambling business and conspiracy. Conducting an illegal gambling business requires that the venture interfere with interstate commerce.
Charlie Cochran, the defendant’s attorney, portrayed the cockfight as a local enterprise and noted that the co-conspirators all traveled within South Carolina.
Cockfighting has a storied history in South Carolina, where the state’s flagship university proudly boasts a gamecock as its mascot.
Prosecutors in the trial also indulged in questioning, revealing gory details of the blood sport.
The defendants await sentencing on November 15 before the U.S. District Court Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks.