SUSSEX, Va. A Surry County judge will set a trial date for Michael Vick and three co-defendants on state dogfighting charges on Nov. 27.
The suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback and the others are not expected to be present at the hearing, Surry County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter said after a hearing Wednesday to determine if each defendant had legal representation.
Poindexter said he hopes to have the trial begin as soon as possible.
"All the good citizens of Surry County I am sure would like to see an end to this, along with a lot of other good people," Poindexter said.
Virginia Beach attorney Larry Woodward, who will represent Vick on the state charges, said Vick turned himself in last week in Surry County for pretrial processing and bonding. Vick already has pleaded guilty to a federal dogfighting conspiracy charge and is awaiting sentencing Dec. 10.
Woodward's appearance in court lasted less than 10 minutes. He walked in silence from the courthouse as about 30 reporters peppered him with questions.
Vick was charged last week in the rural county, home to his dogfighting enterprise since 2001, with two state felony counts beating or killing or causing dogs to fight other dogs and engaging in or promoting dogfighting. Each felony is punishable by up to five years in prison.
His lawyers have said they will fight the state charges on the grounds he can't be convicted twice of the same crime. In pleading guilty to a federal conspiracy charge Aug. 27, Vick admitted helping to kill six to eight dogs, among other things. He faces up to five years in prison, while co-defendants Tony Taylor, Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips also pleaded guilty to the same federal charge.
Vick, suspended indefinitely by the NFL without pay, tested positive last month for marijuana, a violation of U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson's order that he stay clean in exchange for being allowed to be free.
After that positive test, Hudson ordered Vick confined to his home address between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., with electronic monitoring and random drug testing.