PETA Asks Smith County DA For Maximum Sentence In Dog Fighting Case - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/1/05-Tyler

PETA Asks Smith County DA For Maximum Sentence In Dog Fighting Case

They want the maximum punishment for an East Texan accused of heading up a Tyler dog fighting ring.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or "PETA" have made that request to Smith County D.A. Matt Bingham.
Eighteen-year-old Demarcus Keshawn Johnson was arrested last week on misdemeanor theft and dog fighting charges. The letter and information about the pending case are posted on the organization's web site.
In addition to maximum sentence, PETA asks Bingham to pursue mandatory counseling at Johnson's own expense. The letter also said, "upon conviction and in addition to being sentenced to a period of incarceration, Johnson be barred from any future contact with animals and that any animals who may remain in his charge be immediately seized."
Matt Bingham said once he is handed the case, he will pursue the maximum penalty. He is however constrained by law.
"In this case we are going to aggressively prosecute Mr. Johnson for what he's done," Bingham said. "However, I cannot say from the rest of his life we can preclude him from having animals or that I could force him to undergo a psychological evaluation because of something called the fifth amendment right."
Bingham said Johnson can only be charged with a felony if he has been convicted twice before of dog fighting. Felony charges could also come about if there is proof of monetary gain.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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