CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Authorities in Bollinger County prepare to add new charges to the long list facing missing Florida cattle buyer Ron Shepard.
Sheriff Leo McElrath says his department is working on a case involving the theft of cattle at the Patton Junction Livestock Auction back on March 26.
Shepard, already facing charges in several other states, remains on the run but his jailed partner is ready to cooperate, saying he's a victim too.
"Just imagine for the moment an innocent man, a man who's convinced he is innocent and has lost money along with other people," Tim Capps said.
Defense Attorney Capps says his client Jeremy Pierce made the mistake of trusting an old friend.
"Jeremy doesn't know the cattle business, Ron does. He knows it inside out."
That's why Capps says his client went into business with Ron Shepard, creating the Brookfield Cattle Company back in 2009.
Pierce knew about Shepard's time in federal prison, Capps says, but believed he didn't do anything wrong.
"We believe that Jeremy was doing his best to keep up with Ron, in a business sense, in a bad business sense," Capps said.
I asked Capps about the charges in Arkansas, where both men are accused of stealing more than a million dollars worth of cattle.
Shepard allegedly made the buys, Pierce signed the checks.
"Those were blank checks given to Ron by Jeremy," Capps explained.
Capps says the former military policeman, who's never been in trouble with the law, is very upset about charges in Florida, accusing the pair of stealing cattle from FFA students.
"He completely denies that, says he doesn't know anything about that," Capps said.
The US Attorney's Office will not confirm nor deny it's working on the Shepard and Pierce case.
Tim Capps says his client is ready to cooperate with the federal government, and will turn over eight boxes of records from Pierce's Brookfield Cattle Company.
It's something Capps points out, prosecutors in Florida and Arkansas haven't seen yet.
"It's easy to file charges and get a warrant," Capps pointed out, "because a guy's lost a half a million dollars and he's bugging you. Actually investigating it, getting records, proving the case, is going to be an entirely different matter."
Jeremy Pierce will face a Johnson County judge next Monday on the warrant out of Arkansas.
Tim Capps says he's advising his client to fight extradition to Arkansas, saying they'd rather tackle the Florida charges first.