Shelbyville Times-Gazette Staff Report
Special to the Tribune
A May trial date has been set for a prominent walking horse trainer and three others accused in a horse soring conspiracy.
Jackie McConnell, 60, along with Jeff Dockery, 56; John Mays, 47; and Joseph Abernathy, 29, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William B. Carter in Chattanooga last week for arraignment and to hear their conditions for bond.
Carter set May 22 as the trial date for the four, who are facing charges of conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act. With the exception of Mays, they also face charges related to horse soring, transporting and entering sored horses in show competitions and falsifying documents.
However, McConnell will return to court this Friday, March 23, so that his attorneys can argue against restrictions that have barred him from training horses until his trial. The four face a penalty of $30,000 if they don't show up for court.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Neff had objected to allowing McConnell to continue working with horses, stating that "criminal activity has been ongoing for years," at his barn.
Attorneys Hugh Moore and Tom Greenholtz also argued that McConnell should not have to give up his rights against unreasonable search and seizure, the Chattanooga Times-Free Press reported.
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