11-07-2007, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Good news for Babs
Animal cruelty charge against Babineaux dropped
By ANDRIA SIMMONS
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/07/07
A felony animal-cruelty charge against Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux has been dismissed, authorities said Wednesday.
Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said his office conducted an exhaustive investigation after police charged Babineaux with killing his girlfriend's pit bull-mix in February.
Investigators were able to verify that dog had a history of unprovoked attacks, and that a dog trainer had told Babineaux to spin the dog on a leash when it became aggressive, Porter said.
Babineaux would likely have been suspended from the NFL if a grand jury had indicted him, said Pat McDonough, one of his lawyers.
"We are extremely excited that we were able to prove that Jonathan was innocent," McDonough said Wednesday. "The stakes were very high for him. This was the end of a very promising career if things went the wrong way."
Babineaux's lawyer also praised Falcons owner Arthur Blank for sticking by Babineaux even though he was under immense pressure to trade him. Detractors of Falcons' quarterback Michael Vick, who pleaded guilty to federal charges related to dog fighting, have linked the two cases in protests.
McDonough said that Babineaux had proven himself to be "a person of the utmost character" and that "he is the type of person that should be the face of the Falcons and the NFL."
In announcing his decision to dismiss the charge, Porter cited "uncertainty among experts about the exact cause of death and how the injury came about." He also mentioned "the distinct possibility that the defendant's statement is true based on the physical evidence at the scene as well as the likely trajectory of the dog when it was spun on the leash.
"There is not enough evidence to exclude every reasonable hypothesis other than the guilt of the accused," Porter said in a statement.
Police charged Babineaux in February in the death of his girlfriend Blair Anderson's dog, "Kilo." Babineaux was released from jail on $2,300 bond shortly after his arrest.
From the beginning, Babineaux has denied hurting the dog. Prosecutors agreed to delay seeking an indictment in the case until Babineaux's defense attorneys, McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, could conduct their own investigation.
This is good for us!