Oklahoma authorities have issued an arrest warrant in the stolen rodeo horse case for William “Billy” Hamilton. Hamilton will have to answer to charges of animal cruelty, felon in possession of a firearm, bringing stolen property into the state, and knowingly concealing stolen property.
Hamilton’s latest arrest affidavit states that he, Jaci Rae Jackson, George Berrish III, and Dustin Chandler moved the horses from Wendie Cox’s barn to a location behind a pine thicket, where he “released the horses.” There is no mention of how four of the stolen horses were left tied to trees without food or water.
Berrish admitted to authorities he helped Hamilton steal the horses, tack, and trailer in Cox’s truck. He claims he was afraid for his life. “George stated that deputies arrived at Wendie’s house and that Billy held him down, holding the .22 magnum in his hand.”
However, Berrish’s account of the how the fifth horse named Credit Card was killed differs from Hamilton’s. “A horse with a blaze face had gotten loose and Billy walked out to where it was located and he told him and Wendie to turn their heads that he was going to put the horse out of its misery. George said that he heard a gunshot and that when he looked again the horse was on the ground.”
Hamilton told investigators previously that the horse ripped its chest open on a t-post, and that it died from its injuries.
Jackson placed herself at the scene when the horse was killed according to earlier court documents – again a very different account of the horse’s death. “Jaci [Jackson] stated that Billy Hamilton, her mother’s boyfriend, had killed the horse known as Credit Card by shooting it and cutting it’s throat. Jaci [Jackson] said that they then quartered it up and scattered it’s remains.”
In previous interviews with authorities, Berrish said he never saw any horses and that he was hog hunting all day. Berrish has been charged as an adult with six felony counts of theft of property in Arkansas. He pleaded not guilty and remains on house arrest.
Billy Hamilton George Berrish III Wendie Cox
Hamilton is in the Pike County jail awaiting his next court date in an unrelated case. A date for his extradition to Oklahoma has not been scheduled.
Cox made her initial appearance today on new charges including animal cruelty and knowingly receiving stolen property. A warrant was issued Friday for her arrest. She turned herself in Monday morning then posted bond. Cox and her daughter, Jackson, were arraigned in an unrelated arson case later in the day. Cox’s jury trial is scheduled for August 2.
Jackson is scheduled for trial in the stolen horse case and arson case in September.