East Coast earthquake delays Miss. deputy's trial

RICHMOND, Va. — Last week’s East Coast earthquake has delayed the federal trial of a Mississippi sheriff’s deputy accused of allowing his police dog to attack a man for no reason.

The trial of Billy Charles Scott Jr. had been scheduled to begin Monday in federal court in Aberdeen, Miss. Authorities asked for a delay last week because a federal prosecutor involved in the case needed to go home to Washington when his house was damaged by the Aug. 23 earthquake that rattled the East Coast. The 5.8-magnitude earthquake was felt from Georgia to Canada.

U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock rescheduled the trial for Oct. 17.

The charges stem from Scott’s work as a Choctaw County deputy. He’s charged with civil rights violations for allegedly allowing his dog to unnecessarily attack William “Donte” Dubose on April 1, 2010. He’s also charged with falsifying a police report.

Scott pleaded not guilty. His lawyer, James Powell III, says Scott is innocent.

“We’re looking forward to trying the case because we believe he’s innocent and the government can’t prove the allegations because he didn’t do anything wrong,” Powell said in a telephone interview Monday. “It’s always the government’s burden to prove a case and we think they are going to have a hard time with this one.”

Powell said he could not discuss specific details of the case.

The three-count indictment in the case said Scott’s K-9 bit Dubose at least three times. The count that deals with Scott’s alleged falsification of the police report accuses him of several lies.

The indictment says Scott wrote in his report that two other officers told him they had heard an individual threaten to shoot a K-9. In truth, prosecutors say, the other officers didn’t know whose dog the man was talking about shooting.

Scott also is charged with lying for saying the dog got out of his patrol car accidentally when he was trying to close a door that had not been shut securely.

Scott did not stop the attack until Dubose’s mother came out of her house and yelled at Scott “to get his dog off her son,” the indictment said.

Holbrook Mohr/The Associated Pres