The young woman involved in the headline-grabbing theft of five horses belonging to members of the Southern Arkansas University rodeo team in 2011 has been granted parole in the state.
The Arkansas Parole Board approved Jaci Rae Jackson’s parole on Thursday, with conditions.
Jackson, 22, a former student at the university, was convicted last year of offences related to her involvement in the theft of the horses, one of which was later killed by another individual involved in the offending.
The five horses, as well as a horse trailer and tack, were stolen from the university’s Mulerider Stables in November, 2011, and transported across the border into Oklahoma.
Authorities in both states launched an investigation, resulting in several arrests.
Four of the horses were recovered in Oklahoma, but one, a well-performed horse named Credit Card, was found to have been killed earlier and dismembered for disposal.
The parole board granted Jackson parole, but ruled that she first had to provide details of a suitable accommodation plan outside prison, and also had to complete a course in “thinking errors”.
Once released, Jackson will be subject to conditions such as supervision, community service, a curfew and random drug testing.
Jackson was jailed in Arkansas after being convicted of two counts of criminal conspiracy in connection with the horse thefts. She received two consecutive 5-year terms.
Jackson was also convicted and jailed in Oklahoma for related offences, given that the horses, trailer and tack were taken across the state line.
The Magnolia Reporter reported last January that Jackson had been released from the Oklahoma prison system and transferred to the Arkansas system.
She had served about a year of a three-and-a-half year sentence in Oklahoma.
The disappearance of the horses overnight on November 2, 2011, sparked headlines across the US.
Evidence later emerged of a conspiracy involving a plan to steal the horses with the intent of reselling them.
The horses were stolen under the cover of darkness and taken across the state border to McCurtain County, Oklahoma.
However, the plan faltered after Jackson told a co-offender that she recognized the highest profile horse among them, Credit Card. One of the lead conspirators then judged it was too risky to sell them.
It was a view that was to cost Credit Card his life. He was shot and dismembered soon after.
By then the trailer used to haul the horses had been found and it became too risky to move the horses.
The plot then quickly unravelled and the four surviving horses were found soon after by authorities, abandoned and tied to pine trees in rural McCurtain County. They were malnourished and dehydrated.
The remains of Credit Card were found early in December of that year.