Woman convicted in SAU horse theft case is home for birthday, holidays

Published: Dec. 2, 2015 at 9:48 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2015 at 2:21 AM CST
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(KSLA) - The woman sent to prison for stealing Credit Card and four other horses from South Arkansas University is free to celebrate her 23rd birthday Sunday and later the Christmas holidays with her family.

Jaci Rae Jackson now is on parole and living with family members in Oklahoma, prison officials said.

She was released Nov. 23 from Wrightsville Women's Facility in Wrightsville, Ark., and reported Nov. 24 to Oklahoma Corrections Department's Community Corrections division.

"I don't know why Arkansas released her early," Nancy Clampet, Jackson's parole officer in Idabel, said recently. But "she's done what she was told to do upon her release from Arkansas."

Jackson was sentenced Feb. 6, 2014, to 10 years in prison and reported to Wrightsville Women's Facility the same date. During sentencing, the court deferred half of her jail term.

"People heard the '10 years' and not the 'deferred'," said Dina Tyler, spokeswoman for Arkansas Community Correction.

Deferring half of the term left Jackson, a former SAU student, to serve 5 years.

By law in Arkansas, Tyler explained, an inmate must serve one-third of a sentence but then becomes eligible for parole. Add in good time - credit for being good while behind bars - and Jackson became eligible to get out on parole Dec. 1.

"So far, she has done well," Tyler said of Jackson since she left Arkansas. "She did well in prison, never had a rule violation. She was a good inmate."

Jackson's 10 years on parole, which Oklahoma agreed Oct. 20 to supervise, come with certain conditions set by Arkansas.

She must abide by a curfew the first 3 months of her parole, Tyler said. That means reporting home from work, church or school each day within a length of time set by her parole officer. It could be a half-hour, an hour or more.

"She has met all the conditions up to this point," said Alex Gerszewski, spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. "We don't have her on a specific curfew right now."

That's because Oklahoma has yet to receive from Arkansas all the paperwork it needs, including conditions of parole. The documents generally are received within a week of the inmate being transferred and are expected to be in hand shortly, Gerszewski said.

Jackson's conditions of parole also have her under maximum supervision. That means she must report in with her parole officer more frequently than other parolees are required to do.

She also is required to get a job and/or go to school, submit to drug tests, perform community service and make restitution.

Documents show she paid a total of $7,700 in restitution Feb. 6, 2014, the date she was sentenced.

Court records detailing the nature and length of her community service were not immediately available.

In addition to Arkansas' conditions of parole, Oklahoma can but has not imposed any of its own.

She also has those 10 years hanging over her head. If she fails drug tests, has new charges filed against her or otherwise violates her parole, the court can require Jackson to serve the prison time it deferred.

Jackson was convicted in connection with the theft in November 2011 of 5 horses from SAU's Mulerider Stables. The horses belonged to SAU students who were members of the university's nationally competitive rodeo team.

Also taken were a livestock trailer and tack. Court records indicate the thefts were planned ahead of time.

Four of the five horses later were found malnourished but alive and tied to trees on property adjacent to her mother's residence in McCurtain County, Okla.

The remains of Credit Card, a 15-year-old sorrel gelding, were found later that November in McCurtain County. The horse's throat had been slit. The animal also had been shot in the head. The horse's body then was cut into several pieces to make it easier for transport and disposal, an arrest affidavit shows.

Law officers saw the trailer at her mother's residence and recovered it from property owned by Jackson's relatives, court records show.

Jackson was arrested Dec. 5, 2011.

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