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Clintwood man gets probation in cockfighting conspiracy

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A Clintwood, Virginia man who sponsored animals during cockfights at the Big Blue Sportsmen's Club in McDowell, Kentucky was sentenced in federal court in Abingdon, Virginia Monday.

Jimmy Crate Willis, 78, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to knowingly sponsor and exhibit an animal in an animal fighting venture. Willis was sentenced to one year of probation, a fine of $250, and a $100 special assessment.

To date, nine people have been convicted for their roles in the cockfighting conspiracy ran out of the Big Blue facility. The owners of the facility, 73-year-old Shirley Ray Slone and 69-year-old Vernon Kelly Slone both from McDowell, Kentucky, have already forfeited $100,000 and agreed to pay for complete destruction of the facility.

The Slones each face up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Their sentencing is scheduled for June 8.

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