Editor’s Note: The following is an advance story from tomorrow’s more in-depth article about the arrest of an SAU student in connection with the theft of five champion rodeo horses – one of which was found dead last week. Much of the information presented here is included in the probable cause affidavit associated with the case. Please be sure to see tomorrow’s print edition of the Banner-News for additional details and information.
Jaci Rae Jackson, of Buckner and originally of Broken Bow, Okla., will celebrate her 19th birthday tomorrow with a first appearance in Columbia County Circuit Court on six felony charges related to the theft of five beloved champion rodeo horses, a horse trailer and several pieces of riding equipment from Southern Arkansas University’s Mulerider Stables in early November. Four of the five stolen horses were found and returned, and though they were malnourished and dehydrated, at least they were alive – and that’s more than can be said for the fifth horse, Credit Card, whose remains were discovered last week in McCurtain County, Okla.
A probable cause affidavit released in the case states that Credit Card’s remains were mutilated – “quartered,” in fact – after the horse had been shot in the head and had its throat slit. The reason, according to information provided to investigators by a confidential informant, was that Jackson, a freshman at SAU and herself a member of the rodeo team, “wanted the horse killed,” the affidavit states.
The other four horses were tied to pine trees and left without food and water in a rural area of McCurtain County – one had even been spray painted camouflage, according to its owner – where they were later discovered by SAU Rodeo Coach Rusty Hayes and rodeo team member Ashley Mills.
Jackson is slated to appear in court tomorrow, and a formal arraignment has been scheduled for Dec. 15. Other arrests are pending, and two warrants have been issued for suspects in Oklahoma, though officials are declining to comment on information pertaining to those suspects at this time. As of 4 p.m. this afternoon, no other arrests had been made, SAU Police Chief Eric Plummer said.
Additional details and information will be published in a more in-depth article in tomorrow’s print edition of the Banner-News, and that article will be followed by a ‘Breaking News’ update after Jackson’s first appearance.