ACCOMACK: Charges are dropped in Va. Shore cockfighting case
FUENTE: DELMARVA MEDIA GROUP
CCOMAC — Charges have been dropped against an Accomack County man who police alleged was involved in a cockfighting ring raided in April.
An Accomack General District Court judge said there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed with felony charges against Belarimino Bedoya Alvarez, 45, of Accomac. A county prosecutor then said he would discontinue the case.
Alvarez was charged with felony cockfighting after deputies responded to a complaint about chickens being fought in a wooded area behind the Perdue Farms Inc. processing plant.
Accomack Deputy John Spivey testified that he found roosters tied to trees and other signs of the illegal activity.
“I saw chicken feathers all over the ground and a blood-like substance in the dirt,” he said.
He said also that Alvarez was very cooperative and stated that he knew nothing about what was going on in the woods near his auto-repair business.
He said that none of the items and chickens recovered belonged to him and told the deputy to take them away.
As Spivey spoke with Alvarez, he said he saw three Hispanic men running out of the woods.
Along with the chickens, the officer found cages, knives that can be attached to the fighting chickens to enhance the injuries they can inflict, scales and a cockpit used for containing fighting roosters.
Defense attorney Carl Bundick said his client knew nothing of the illegal activity and asked that the charges be dismissed.
“There is no evidence that Mr. Alvarez participated or encouraged it,” he said.
“The only path to the area was through an area that the defendant identified as his property,” said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Brenner.
“It would be virtually impossible for him to not know what was going on there. There is an obvious connection there.”
“A misdemeanor has been shown, but not a felony,” said Judge Gordon Vincent.
”The Commonwealth has shown that the defendant authorized it. To elevate it to the level of a felony, the Commonwealth has to have probable cause that the knives were used. There is no evidence that a knife was used in the fighting of the cocks.”
The fighting cocks that were seized by the police on April 11 were euthanized after being held at the animal control facility for 10 days.