*Jailed NFL quarterback Michael Vick was escorted from his prison cell in Kansas to a courtroom in Virginia on Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to a state dogfighting charge in exchange for a three-year suspended sentence.
The one-time Atlanta Falcons star also pleaded not guilty to one count of cruelty to animals, but that charge was dropped under his plea deal.
"I want to apologize to the court, my family, and to all the kids who looked up to me as a role model," Vick told the judge, as his mother Brenda Boddie, brother Marcus Vick and fiancee Kijafa Frink sat together in the front row of the courtroom with other family and friends.
Sporting a gray suit adorned with wrist and ankle shackles, Vick remained stoic throughout the approximately 20-minute hearing. Afterward, he turned to his young daughter and winked, the AP reported.
His three-year suspended sentence is far less than the maximum of 10 years he could have faced. The 28-year-old is currently serving a 23-month sentence in Leavenworth, Kan. on federal charges of financing a dogfighting ring at a home he owned in eastern Virginia's rural Surry County, southeast of Richmond. He also admitted to participating in the killing of several dogs that lost battles.
Vick is scheduled for release on July 20, 2009, and will serve three years of probation. His latest plea is important because it resolves the remaining charges against him, which is required under federal law if he is to move into a halfway house.
Meanwhile, the five-bedroom house at the center of Vick's dogfighting enterprise is back on the auction block.
A listing on Motleys Auction and Realty Group's Web site says the property in Smithfield is scheduled to be auctioned on Dec. 15, with bids starting at $590,000. Last December, developer Wilbur Ray Todd Jr. rejected a $747,000 bid for the property, which he had bought for $450,000, along with an additional $50,000 in improvements.