An 18 year old college student, Jaci Rae Jackson, has been arrested in connection with the theft of five rodeo horses, their tack and a trailer which were stolen from the Southern Arkansas University’s Rodeo Team’s Stables.
The trailer was found a few days later with the tack, but it was two weeks before four of the five horses were found — tied to trees in a heavily wooded part of Oklahoma. They were undernourished and dehydrated, but alive. The remains of the fifth horse, Credit Card, were found last week.
An affidavit sheds some light on the crime. It appears that the young woman, who was a freshman member of the rodeo team, stole the horses and wanted one of them dead because she was angry with the owners — reportedly, she had “romantic problems” with one of the young men. According to confidential informants (at least one is reported to be a member of the team), she had cased the stable in advance of the crime and had asked specifically where the horses of certain owners were kept.
Southern Arkansas University Police Chief Eric Plummer said that Jackson faces six felony charges in Arkansas, including three counts of theft of property over $25,000 (Class B felony) and three counts of theft of property between $5,000 and $25,000 (Class C felony). Jackson also faces three felony charges in Oklahoma, including bringing stolen property into that state, knowingly concealing stolen property and cruelty to animals.
What the charges can’t convey is the vindictiveness of a young woman — an equestrian, no less — who could steal five horses and who allegedly watched as a man, identified in The Republic as her mother’s boyfriend, killed one of them. Credit Card, the horse that was killed, was reportedly shot in the head, had his throat slit and was then dismembered to make it easier to dispose of his remains. Obviously, others were involved. It seems as though the police are well on their way to identifying and arresting the other parties.
But how can their be justice for the young man whose horse was so brutally killed? The horse was reportedly named Credit Card after an ad slogan, “don’t leave home without it” because owner Shaun Smith was so attached to his horse that he brought him with him whenever he could.
SAU President, Dr. David Rankin had offered to provide financial help to Smith to buy another horse. But the Smith family has requested that any funds raised go toward a scholarship to help other rodeo students attend SAU.