Kentucky cockfighting pit destroyed, property owners sentenced - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Kentucky cockfighting pit destroyed, property owners sentenced

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photo courtesy: Department of Justice photo courtesy: Department of Justice

A photo released by federal prosecutors in Abingdon, Virginia gave us a glimpse inside an illegal cockfighting venue that operated for more than 30 years. 

The Big Blue Sportsman's Club in McDowell, Kentucky had 5,000 members. It housed an 8,000 square-foot facility that featured arena-style seating, multiple fighting pits and a restaurant. 

The building sat on property owned by Shirley Ray Slone, 73, and Vernon Kelly Slone, 69. Prosecutors said the two men started the club in 1977. They gave up day-to-day operations in the early 1990's and chose to lease the facility to others for a cut of the entrance fees. The Slones were paid $3 for each person who attended a cockfight. 

In 2014, the Big Blue Sportsman's Club was the site of a law enforcement raid. Several people were arrested on federal charges related to cockfighting, gambling, and narcotics trafficking. 

Shirley and Vernon Slone each entered guilty pleas in March to one count of conspiracy to cause others to attend a cockfight. They forfeited $100,000 and paid to have the club destroyed. The demolition was completed in early May. On June 8, the Slones were each sentenced to one year of probation.

Prosecutors said seven others have federal convictions stemming from the Big Blue conspiracy.

  1. Russell D. Peaks- 24 months
  2. Jonathan Robinson- 12 months
  3. Wesley Dean Robinson- 6 months
  4. Joshua Stumbo- 10 months
  5. Sonya Stumbo- 10 months
  6. Walter Stumbo- 18 months
  7. Jimmy Crate Willis- probation

Read the full news release below:

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