A case that took almost five years to be tried ended Monday with a plea agreement for John Clinton Smith.
Charges were filed against Smith in 2003 after officers found dogs and equipment used to train dogs to fight in Smith's possession. Smith was on probation for a previous charge, which prohibited him from having more than two dogs.
Officers found eight pit bulls and equipment to train dogs at 600 S. Delong (2350 West), which was a violation of Smith's probation. He was charged with six counts of third-degree felony dogfighting/training dogs for fighting and six class B misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.
Smith pleaded guilty to three counts of dogfighting/training dogs for fighting in exchange for the other nine charges being dropped.
In February of this year, Smith was found competent to stand trial. Because of the competency issue and because Smith takes medication for dementia, 3rd District Judge Deno Himonas asked the defendant a series of questions to determine if Smith understood the plea deal.
He asked Smith if he knew what a jury trial was. "That's when eight people sit there and decide what they read in the newspaper," Smith said.
The judge acknowledged Smith was joking but told him to be serious for purposes of the record. He asked Smith who was president and what sports Smith followed. He also asked Smith to count backward from 100 in increments of sevens. Smith's answers satisfied the court, and the judge accepted the plea.
Smith will be sentenced Sept. 5 at 9 a.m.