A judge sentenced a man who asked a witness to lie in a cockfighting case in Kentucky to a year and one day in jail. The judge also fined Oakley D. “Whitney” Hatfield with 1,000 USD. Hatfield was one of the nine people charged after Kentucky State Police raided a cockfighting venue in Bald Rock, Laurel County in June 2021.
Animal rights group Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) was instrumental in the arrest. The police acted on a tip from the group, arriving at the Bald Rock pit where around 80 people were gathered. The pit had stadium-style seating and a concession stand, according to records.
While Hatfield was awaiting trial earlier in the year, he asked a witness to lie and say his girlfriend, Jacklyn Johnson, had only minimal involvement in the illegal cockfighting operation. The witness then said she had extensive involvement.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Hanly A. Ingram ordered Hatfield’s pretrial release be revoked, making him serve more than four months before he was sentenced. Hatfield pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiring to sponsor and exhibit animals in a fighting venture and one charge of attending an animal fight. Johnson also pleaded guilty but has not been sentenced.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate K. Smith described cockfighting as an “extreme form of cruelty to animals,” in a sentencing memorandum.