Marvin C. Watkins

Charlene Watkins

Cockfighting business - conspiracy to promote gambling
500 people initially charged with animal cruelty

Jeffersonville, KY

April, 2005

In 1992, Marvin C. Watkins built an elaborate 700-seat area with stadium seats, souvenirs and a cafeteria on his Jeffersonville farm.

       (Photo courtesy of The Kentucky State Police)

                  (Photo courtesy of Charles Bertram, the Lexington Herald)

In April 2005, Kentucky State Police raided the operation and cited more than 500 people on animal cruelty charges.  Watkins, who held the illegal cockfights on his Montgomery County farm will have to dismantle the operation and give up the nearly $430,000 that State Police seized during the raid.

Watkins and his wife Charlene were charged with running a criminal syndicate, a Class B felony.

During the week of July 17th, Watkins pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to promote gambling. Under the agreement his 2-year sentence will be probated for five years. Charges against Charlene Watkins were dropped.  Each could have spent 10-20 years in prison.  Marvin Watkins, 78, will be sentenced on August 25th.  Both Marvin and Charlene Watkins have agreed that they would not permit cockfighting or gambling on any other property they own.  They will forfeit a $100,000 bond if they violate the conditions of this agreement.

The couple must also rid their farm of all cockfighting materials, including pits and cages.  A large collection of guns, photographs and memorabilia confiscated during the raid will be returned.

Kentucky State Police will keep $171,000 in fees paid by entrants the day of the raid. The remaining $257,038 will go to the Internal Revenue Service and/or the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet.

Charges against the 500 plus people cited during the raid were dismissed in August 2005 by Montgomery District Judge William Lane who stated the state’s cockfighting statute was unclear.


Lexington Herald-Leader