Student arrested in S. Ark. University horse theft
Updated: December 05, 2011 - 9:20 pm
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A college freshman in southern Arkansas said she watched her mother's boyfriend kill one of five horses that she helped steal from her fellow student rodeo riders, authorities allege in a court document released Monday.
The remains of that horse, named Credit Card, were later found in southeast Oklahoma on property near Jaci Rae Jackson's mother's home, according to an affidavit for Jackson's arrest warrant. The other four horses were found malnourished but alive on the same property last month.
Authorities arrested Jackson Monday during a traffic stop near Magnolia, where she studies general business at Southern Arkansas University.
Jackson, who turns 19 on Tuesday, faces six felony theft charges and was being held on $100,000 bond in the Columbia County jail. She had not retained an attorney as of Monday and is expected to appear before a judge this week. Formal charges will come later this month.
Warrants have been issued for the arrests of two other suspects in Oklahoma.
"Other suspects are known to be involved," university police Chief Eric Plummer said in a statement. "We will work this case until everyone involved is brought to justice."
The affidavit for Jackson's arrest warrant claims she committed the crimes by acting as an accomplice.
In that same court document, a university police officer said Jackson had "romantic problems with at least one of the owners of the stolen horses." It wasn't clear whether she had problems with the young man who owned Credit Card, and a university spokesman Jeremy Langley declined to discuss a potential motive.
Jackson started riding with the team this fall.
One of Jackson's fellow rodeo students told authorities that Jackson asked her who owned the horses that were later stolen, according to the affidavit. Another student said Jackson took notes about the locations of the stalls where the stolen horses were housed.
Then, under the cover of darkness before the school's rodeo on Nov. 3, five horses — including Credit Card — and an aluminum trailer were stolen. Two rodeo students said they saw a dark-colored truck backing up to the trailer, according to the affidavit. Both Jackson and her mother's boyfriend are known to drive dark-colored trucks, police said in the affidavit.
Three of the horses were worth more than $25,000 each. The other two — and the trailer — were worth somewhere between $5,000 and $25,000 each.
Authorities started investigating the theft, and on Nov. 7, an informant told officials in Oklahoma's McCurtain County that Jackson had asked for help moving the stolen horses, authorities wrote in the affidavit. Jackson said her mother's boyfriend had "screwed it up," the affidavit said.
During a recorded phone conversation, Jackson told the informant that she wanted Credit Card to be killed and that she watched her mother's boyfriend shoot the horse and slit its throat, police said in the affidavit. Jackson then said her mother's boyfriend and a juvenile cut the horse into pieces "for easy transport and disposal."
Credit Card's remains matched her description when they were found last month, according to the affidavit.
A statement from the university and the McCurtain County Sheriff's Department in Oklahoma said Jackson was also being held on three other felony charges, including bringing stolen property into Oklahoma, knowingly concealing stolen property and cruelty to animals.