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Vick in Virginia to face state charges; deal would yield no jail time


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RICHMOND, Va. -- Michael Vick is back in Virginia to face state dogfighting charges.

Hopewell Regional Jail Superintendent Darnley Hodge said Friday that the former NFL star is being held in protective custody.

Hodge said Vick is isolated from the rest of the jail's approximately 1,200 inmates simply to avoid any disruptions.

Otherwise, he said, Vick will be treated like any other prisoner.

Hodge said Vick arrived Thursday afternoon from the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., where he's serving a 23-month sentence for a federal dogfighting conspiracy.

He's due Tuesday in Surry County Circuit Court, where he's expected to plead guilty in a deal with prosecutors that calls for a suspended sentence and probation.

The plea would resolve his last pending criminal charges, and his lawyers hope would make him eligible for early release from prison into a halfway house designed to ease his return to society. Only prisoners with no outstanding charges are eligible to participate in that program.

Vick's lawyers attempted last month to get permission for him to make his plea by videoconference, but Judge Samuel Campbell denied the request.

Vick was convicted of the federal charges last August when he admitted to bankrolling a dogfighting operation at a home he owned in rural Surry County. He also admitted to participating in the killing of several underperforming dogs. Three co-defendants also pleaded guilty in the case.

The state charges -- beating or killing or causing dogs to fight other dogs and engaging in or promoting dogfighting -- each carried a possible prison sentence of five years, but Vick's legal team and Surry County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Poindexter agreed to the plea deal.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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