Dog fighting ring re-assembled in WPB courtroom - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Dog fighting ring re-assembled in WPB courtroom

By Chuck Weber email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Testimony got under way Wednesday in the trial of three local men charged with dog fighting. At one point, most jurors walked out of the jury box to get a closer look at the alleged dog fighting ring, which was re-assembled right in the middle of the courtroom.

Ricky Norfus, Samuel Denson, and Paul Green are all charged with dog fighting and conspiracy. The men were busted by Boynton Beach Police in 2007. Officers took almost 15 dogs, some with wounds consistent with dog fighting. The officers also seized equipment and paraphernalia investigators say is used only by dog fighters.

What makes the case unique is prosecutors have no witnesses to an actual dog fight-- a fact defense lawyers expect to hit hard.

Wednesday jurors saw many of the items seized: syringes and needles, dog fighting books and journals, and a so-called slat mill, a treadmill-type device used for training dogs. And then there was the dog fighting arena in the middle of the courtroom.

Boynton Police crime scene investigator Officer Rob Eichorst pointed to places on the dog ring carpet where his team tested stains for blood. "Was there a reaction on the test?" asked prosecutor Sarah Willis. "Yes," replied Officer Eichorst. "It indicated the presence of blood."

But on cross-examination, Norfus' lawyer, Dean Wilbur, asked the officer, "Did any of the detectives indicate they wanted to determine is if any of the dogs, owned by any of the three gentlemen, Mr. Denson, Mr. Green or Mr. Norfus, any of their dogs' blood was on the carpet?"

Officer Eichorst replied no one had. But he said he didn't have a test that would determine that.

The trial is expected to continue through the rest of the week. If the three men are convicted on all the dog fighting and conspiracy charges against them, they face up to 20 years in prison.

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