IDABEL, OK (KSLA) - Jaci Jackson has been sentenced to serve 42 months in prison and 7 years probation for her role in the theft of 5 horses and tack from Southern Arkansas University's stables.
Former SAU student Jaci Jackson had pleaded guilty to four felonies total in Arkansas and Oklahoma in connection with the theft of 5 horses, a trailer and tack from the SAU stables in November 2011.
The trailer was found shortly afterward in Oklahoma. Two weeks after they were stolen, 4 of the horses were found abandoned and tied to pine trees in rural McCurtain County Oklahoma, malnourished and dehydrated, but alive. The remains of the fifth were found in early December. "Credit Card" had been shot, his throat was slit and he had been cut into pieces.
The man accused of killing Credit Card ultimately pleaded guilty for his part in the theft and killing. Billy Hamilton is currently serving 30 years in Arkansas and 20 years in Oklahoma.
In addition to Hamilton, 2 others have already been sentenced in connection with the case, including Jackson's mother. Wendi Cox was sentenced to 60 years behind bars following her conviction in March 2013.
In Columbia County, Jackson was originally charged with four counts theft of property over $5,000 and two counts theft of property over $25,000. On April 4, 2013, she pleaded guilty to six counts conspiracy to commit theft of property. Sentencing on those charges is set for February 6.
In Oklahoma, Jackson ultimately pleaded guilty to bringing stolen property into the state, knowingly concealing stolen property and cruelty to animals.
At her sentencing hearing on those charges Monday afternoon at the McCurtain County courthouse in Idabel, Jackson's attorney told the judge that her mother had been a bad influence on her. Jackson herself also gave a statement to the judge, saying, "I am sorry, very sorry."
McCurtain County District Attorney Mark Matloff refused to offer any kind of plea deal for Jackson. She faced up to 5 years behind bars for each charge and a fine. However, Oklahoma Special Judge Gary Brock noted that no proof had been provided that Jackson, now 21, was present when Credit Card was killed.
While Brock also noted in his ruling that he was aware of how young Jackson was at the time of the crime, he told her she also knew at the time that the bond between and horses and their owners is very special. Even if she was not involved in the death of Credit Card, Brock acknowledged that Jackson was actively involved in the mistreatment of the horses, and the cover-up that followed.
Matloff says he would have liked a stiffer sentence, but is satisfied with the judge's ruling. Members of a group calling themselves the SAU Justice League were also in court for sentencing. "I don't feel there was enough time given, but at least someone took knowledge of what she had done," said Tammy Robinson.
On Wednesday afternoon, Southern Arkansas University released a brief statement in response to Jackson's sentencing: "The theft of five horses from SAU has been a traumatic event for everyone at the University and our community and we are extremely glad to get it behind us so we can move forward. We want to thank everyone for all the tremendous support we have received."