December 8, 2023
Volusia County Assistant State Attorneys Honored by Halifax Humane Society
DAYTONA BEACH – During Halifax Humane Society’s ‘Fur Ball’ fundraiser this week at the Daytona Beach Ocean Center, Seventh Judicial Circuit Assistant State Attorneys Mike Willard and Daniel Megaro received the 2023 ‘Champion for Animals’ award for their dedication and success in the Noble Geathers case.
On February 22, 2021, the Daytona Beach Police Department with help from Volusia County Animal Services seized 42 dogs from a vacant lot and an adjoining residence located on Reva Street in Daytona Beach. Upon further investigation, detectives discovered that the dogs were being bred and then used in an organized dog fighting ring. All of the dogs were either chained or caged for isolation and many had wounds that were in different stages of healing consistent with organized dog fights. Several other items of evidence were collected during the execution of a search warrant at the Reva Street residence, which included dog supplements and injectable medication often seen in organized dog fighting.
Geathers, who was determined to be the leader of the organized dog fighting ring, and his two co-defendants were charged the following month with a long list of felony counts.
In May 2023, Assistant State Attorneys Willard and Megaro took the case against Geathers to trial. After five days of testimony and argument, a Volusia County jury found the defendant guilty as charged of 12 counts of Principal to Felony Cruelty to Animals, nine counts of Principal to Animal Fighting and one count of Animal Fighting-Property Promoting. Geathers was then sentenced to 18 years in Florida State Prison for the crimes.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza introduced Willard and Megaro at the ball Wednesday night before Halifax Humane Society CEO Adam Leath presented them with their plaques.
“How we treat other living things is a reflection of our heart and soul. We will continue to aggressively prosecute and seek lengthy prison sentences for those who choose to commit such crimes,” Larizza said. “I commend prosecutors Mike Willard and Dan Megaro for their outstanding efforts in the Geathers case.”
For more information contact:
Haley Harrison | Multimedia Specialist/PIO | Office of State Attorney R.J. Larizza, Florida's Seventh Judicial Circuit | SAOPIO@SAO7.org