Now they can play with their cocks in prison
VERBENA, Alabama––The chickens came home to roost for seven convicted gamefowl cocks-of-the-walk from the Easterling family on October 13, 2022, November 30, 2022, and December 6, 2022.
Six Easterlings and an inlaw who was among their employees were sentenced on those three days for multiple felony violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
The U.S. Department of Justice said the sentences ended “one of the largest cockfighting operations in the country.”
“Animal fighting on an exceptional scale”
Explained the Department of Justice announcement, “The court determined that the illegal conduct [for which the convicted defendants were sentenced] involved animal fighting on an ‘exceptional scale’ and imposed sentences which reflect the unusual cruelty of a business model that relies on the death or injury of thousands of birds for entertainment and profit.”
Detailed the Department of Justice, “According to court documents and information in the public record, from at least January 2018 through June 11, 2021, illegal cockfighting events were held at the [Easterlings’]cockfighting pit, which consisted of an arena with stadium-style seating for approximately 150 people.”
Arena & outbuildings torn down
The seating “faced several cockfighting pits and nearby outbuildings including a merchandise stand. The illegal derbies involved a series of cockfights in which at least two or more roosters fought each other, each with a sharp blade attached to its leg. These fights were conducted for the purpose of sport, wagering and entertainment. Participants were charged expensive fees to enter their birds in the derbies – such as $1,500 to fight seven roosters – and told what weapons to strap to the roosters’ legs, such as short knives, long knives or spurs.”
All seven of the sentences were plea-bargained.
“Consistent with his plea agreement, William Colon Easterling dismantled and destroyed the entire cockfighting arena and associated outbuildings,” the Department of Justice said.
[Note: “Colin” is a common name. “Colon” is described by dictionaries as “the main part of the large intestine,” which terminates at the rectum, otherwise known as the asshole.]
“Near the cockfighting pit,” detailed the Department of Justice, “members of the Easterling family ran two large fighting bird breeding businesses known as Swift Creek Gamefarm and L&L Gamefarm at which thousands of birds were bred and sold to be used in fights between two or more birds for the purposes of sport, wagering or entertainment.
“With the help of six of his family members,” the Department of Justice said, “Jim Easterling owned and operated the cockfighting pit for many years, even enlisting his granddaughter, Amber Easterling, to sell weapons used to kill birds in cockfights at the merchandise stand.
“Brent Easterling was one of the most widely-known fighting-bird breeders in the country, running L&L Gamefarm with his wife Kassi Easterling and charging $1,500 for three chickens because they were birds of select fighting pedigrees.
“Brent Easterling also promoted the cockfights at his father Jim’s cockfighting pit.
“Tyler Easterling helped his father, Billy Easterling, operate a vast fighting-bird breeding business known as Swift Creek Gamefarm, where they employed their in-law, Junior Williams, and others to help maintain and ship fighting birds. Tyler Easterling also promoted several cockfights at his grandfather Jim’s cockfighting pit.”
Colon’s daddy also a Colon
Brent Colon Easterling, 38, on November 30, 2022 drew heaviest sentence: 24 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release..
William Tyler Easterling, 30, on the same day was sentenced to 20 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release.
William Colon “Jim” Easterling, 77, who introduced his sons and grand daughter to cockfighting, received only two years of home detention — “rather than incarceration,” the Department of Justice noted, “which the court determined would be ‘extremely detrimental’ to his declining health — and a fine of $8,000.”
Three get probation
The court a week later sent George William “Billy” Easterling, 56, to prison for 22 months, followed by one year of supervised release.
Three members of the Easterling family copped plea bargains on June 3, 2022. Those three were sentenced on October 13, 2022.
Kassi Brook Easterling, 39, received two years on probation, including six months of home detention.
Amber Nicole Easterling, 25, received one year on probation, as did Thomas Glyn “Junior” Williams, 34.
Animal Wellness Action, SHARK, & Humane Farming Association celebrate
The Easterlings’ and Williams sentences represented triumphs for Animal Wellness Action, Showing Animals Respect & Kindness, and the Humane Farming Association.
“Animal Wellness Action,” recounted spokesperson Marty Irby, “in early June 2020 released a detailed report identifying Brent Easterling as a major trafficker in fighting animals and implements,” sold to Mexico, the Philippines, and to other states, including New Mexico.”
Animal Wellness Action also “shared a dossier on him with the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama and with other federal law enforcement officials,” Irby said.
Showing Animals Respect & Kindness [SHARK], whose investigation was funded by the Humane Farming Association, meanwhile followed a completely different path to exposing the Easterling family gamefowl business.
Other SHARK investigations of cockfighting in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio meanwhile led the SHARK team to covertly monitor a “Call To Action BBQ” hosted and organized by Brent Easterling, along with other Easterling activities in Alabama and elsewhere.