Danny Gibbons, 47, of Edina changed his plea from not guilty to an Alford plea of guilty during a hearing in Knox County Associate Court on Tuesday, March 24, 2015.
An Alford plea is a plea of guilty based on defendant’s belief that he would receive a greater sentence if he stood trial than he would receive through a plea bargain agreement, according to the State’s definition of the term.
Gibbons was charged with three counts of animal abuse stemming from an investigation launched by the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office beginning on February 26, 2014, after over 30 head of cattle belonging to Gibbons were found dead in a field a few miles south of Hurdland. Gibbons was accused of failing to properly care for at least three of the animals causing the animals to die of starvation and/or dehydration after evidence and investigations were submitted by the Animal Cruelty Task Forde and Knox County Sheriff Allen Gudehus.
Knox County Associate Judge Tom Redington sentenced Gibbons to serve one year on court supervised probation and pay $118.50 in court costs. As a condition of his probation, Gibbons must submit to random animal welfare checks from law enforcement officers and allow them access to all of his livestock.
According to Knox County Prosecutor Jo Fortney, there’s not a lot that can be done in animal abuse cases because they type of animal abuse Gibbons was charged with, however heinous, is classified as a misdemeanor charge in Missouri.
“Upon request of law enforcement Mr. Gibbons is to allow them to check the wellbeing of his animals. I think this was a reasonable outcome considering that the cattle were his and it is simply a misdemeanor charge,” said Fortney.
According to Fortney, Gibbons did not have a criminal record prior to this case. Upon the successful completion of probation he will have the opportunity to motion the court to have the conviction removed from his record.
Posted on Thursday, April 2, 2015