Michael Vick Asked Judge for `Second Chance'

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Michael Vick declared he is "not the bad person or beast" he was made out to be and asked for leniency in a letter to the federal judge who sentenced him to 23 months in prison for a Virgnia dogfighting conspiracy.

Vick made his handwritten plea from jail as he awaited Monday's sentencing by Judge Henry E. Hudson of Richmond.

His five-page letter and several others from Vick supporters, including baseball great Hank Aaron and former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman, were released by the U.S. District Court in Richmond

Vick wrote: "I take full responsibility for my actions and am ashamed that my actions hurt animals and allowed animals to be hurt and killed."

The suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback's appeal was not enough to overcome Hudson's finding that Vick lied at various times about his hands-on role in helping kill pit bulls and about his marijuana use, which was detected by a drug screening.

Hudson cited those lapses in giving Vick a longer sentence than two co-defendants, who previously were sentenced to 18 months and 21 months.

In his letter, Vick said he is an animal lover but that he grew up in a culture where dogfighting went unpunished while people were arrested for guns or drugs. He said he now knows his actions were

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)