Kankey receives probation for assault and terroristic threatening

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Rodney Kankey

Rodney Kankey, 50, of Viola has accepted a plea agreement, avoiding a trial and possible prison sentence for assault and other charges.

On Sept. 13, Kankey, his attorney, John Russo, and Fulton County Prosecutor Dewayne Plumlee went before Judge Tim Weaver, to seek approval of a settlement finalized on Sept. 12.

Kankey confirmed he was pleading nolo contendere to Assault First Degree, Terroristic Threatening and Possession of a Firearm by a Certain Person.

Nolo contendre, also known as an Alford plea, allowed Kankey to claim his innocence, while admitting that, at trial, there was sufficient evidence to prove him guilty.

In exchange for the plea, Kankey was placed on probation for 60 months. He was also fined $2,500 and ordered to pay $420 in fines and court costs.

Prosecutor Plumlee told the court that the victims in the case had agreed to the plea agreement.

Had he been convicted, Kankey could have faced one year in prison for assault, one year for terroristic threatening and five to 20 years for illegal possession of a firearm.

Kankey was arrested on Nov. 25, 2010 after allegedly pointing a loaded pistol at one man and threatening the lives of his wife, father in law, and two neighbors. He was also charged with possession of a firearm, in violation of a previous court order.

Kankey made no statement during his sentencing.

Judge Weaver cautioned Kankey to observe the terms of his probation and avoid any further conflict with his wife and children, as he would face a 20 year prison sentence for probation violations.

While attorney Russo requested that Kankey's bond be returned, Plumlee objected, on the grounds the bond also applies to unresolved animal cruelty charges against Kankey. Judge Weaver left the bond in place.

On Dec. 9, 2010, the Fulton County Sheriff's Department, the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States found more than 100 neglected and diseased horses at Kankey's Viola farm.

The horses were seized under a court order and moved to Mountain Home, to receive food, water and medical care.

On Dec. 30, 2010, Kankey was charged with five felony counts of Aggravated Cruelty to a Horse and 113 misdemeanor counts of Cruelty to Animals.

Kankey faces a December trial on the animal cruelty charges.

Kankey is also involved in two civil suits regarding the seized horses.

While the ASPCA won a district court trial giving it authority to adopt the horses out, Kankey continues to challenge that decision, seeking return of the horses.

In addition, the ASPCA has filed suit against Kankey seeking to recover the cost of more than nine months of caring for the horses, which have been relocated to a farm in central Arkansas.

As of May 4, 2011, the ASPCA estimated it had spent "in excess of $200,000," to care for the horses. Its lawsuit requests a trial to determine the actual amount Kankey owes.

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