A Cherokee County man has been sentenced to 32 years in prison for stealing cattle from a friend who was paying him to "cow sit" his herd while he was out of the country.

The Cherokee County District Attorney says 52 year old James Michael Bradberry of Alto agreed to look after a friend's herd while the friend worked overseas for two years from 2006 through 2008.

During that time, the prosecutor says Bradberry gradually sold off his friend's cattle, and kept the money the friend sent to pay for his cattle's care and upkeep.

By October of 2007, the victim's cattle were all gone.  In April 2008, Bradberry leased the victim's property to a third person and kept that money for himself as well.

In all, prosecutors say Bradberry pocketed about $170,000 dollars.

The jury found him guilty of felony theft, and he faced five to 99 years or life in prison because the charge was enhanced to a first-degree felony due to his prior convictions for theft and forgery.

Bradberry's attorney, Tim James, says his client will likely appeal the conviction.

Testimony in the trial revealed Bradberry had been convicted of theft and forgery in earlier separate cases, and that he had a bad reputation in the Alto area.

So the question arises:  Why would anybody trust someone with his record and reputation to take care of their cattle?

This just shows why you should always check references when you're looking for a baby sitter, or in this case, a "cow-sitter."