Defendant In Lee County Dogfighting Trial Plans To Take Stand
Posted July 17, 2001 5:05 a.m. EDT
LEE COUNTY — The trial began Tuesday for a Lee County man accused of running a dogfighting ring.
Lee County deputies found 150 pit bulls on the property of Gaston Williamson in March, along with drugs and stolen weapons. Investigators had arrested Williamson and his friend, Leo George Scully Jr., on a number of charges, including possession of stolen property and dogfighting.
"The defendant was in the dogfighting business, and he raised, conditioned and sold these dogs for the purpose of engaging in fighting," said prosecutor Bill Huggins.
The defense claims Williamson was in the dog breeding business. They plan to introduce two veterinarians who will say that there was nothing wrong with Williamson's dogs or any evidence of dogfighting.
A Lee County detective took the stand Tuesday morning saying he found equipment used to train dogs for fighting and a shed to showcase the events.
A dogfighting expert said items taken by authorities appeared to include: treadmills, a training log for the dogs preparing to fight, fight sticks used to break up dogfights and dogfighting magazines.
The defense got the expert to admit that treadmills could be used to train dogs for weight-pulling contests, which are legal. He also said the fight sticks could be used to separate a pair of pit bulls that got into a fight after one got loose.
Williamson says he is confident that he will be acquitted. He also plans to testify on his own behalf.
Williamson was originally in jail as a result of the charges, but he has since been released to care for the dogs, since the county claimed it would cost too much to take care of them.
The defense plans to open its case on Wednesday.