DOGFIGHTING Sleepy suspect pleads guilty
The South Garland Avenue man faces 18 months in prison for dogfighting.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Stanley T. Jones could barely stay awake Thursday as he stood before Judge Maureen A. Cronin in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
He was there to plead guilty to a charge of dogfighting, but the judge was becoming increasingly irritated at his drowsy demeanor.
Finally, she put down his case file, leaned over her bench toward Jones and asked him, "What's wrong with you?"
Jones paused, as he had done throughout the hearing, then said, "I just want to go to my cell, lay down and do my time."
The hearing continued, and Jones did plead guilty.
Jones, 20, of South Garland Avenue, has been held in the county jail pending his court appearance.
He was originally free on bond, but the judge revoked it after he failed to show up for two previous hearings.
He's one of four people accused of running a dogfighting operation in the city last year.
Zaccheus James, 24, of Cassius Street, pleaded guilty earlier this year and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Judge Cronin granted him shock probation last week.
Eithyer L. Ramos, 19, of Coitsville Road, Coitsville, is still awaiting trial.
A male juvenile has also pleaded guilty in juvenile court and is awaiting sentencing, said Assistant Prosecutor Kelly Johns.
Judge Cronin ordered a background check to be run on Jones before she sentences him. Johns recommended that he be sentenced to 18 months in prison and said she won't oppose him being granted shock probation.
She also asked that Jones be barred from ever owning another dog.
That was also a part of James' sentence.
Agent Bill Lesho of the Ohio Dogfighting Task Force said there are two types of dogfighting: Organized fighting, which involves crowds and betting, and street fighting, in which people watch dogs fight for amusement.
The local men's operation was in the street-fighting category, he said.
Lesho said these are the task force's first cases in Northeast Ohio, and he credited the prosecutor's office and other local officials with helping to crack down on the activity.