Possibly one of the most hated cowgirls in the country is out of prison after serving less than two years behind bars. Jaci Jackson was released Monday, November 23rd, from the Wrightsville Women’s Facility.
A barrel racer, Jackson was granted an early release from Arkansas’ custody back to the state of Oklahoma. To make room for new prisoners, the Arkansas Board of Corrections invokes the Emergency Powers Act, allowing inmates within 90 days of parole to be set free early.
Jackson attended Southern Arkansas University, in Magnolia, and is a former college rodeo team member. She landed in lock-up after a plan to steal her team members’ horses went awry.
Jackson was convicted in 2014 of six criminal conspiracy charges. A judge handed down two consecutive 5-year sentences. She must also complete 400 hours of community service and pay her victims $28,000 in restitution.
In August, the Arkansas Parole Board approved Jackson’s parole. According to the state, her offense is non-discretionary, meaning the board did not have the legal authority to deny Jackson parole. She was scheduled to be paroled in February 2016.
The horse theft scheme, devised by Jackson’s mother, Wendi Cox, included stealing five horses, equipment, and a horse trailer from the SAU rodeo barn in November 2011. Cox’s boyfriend William “Billy” Hamilton, Jr., a convicted felon, and a teen also participated. Four of the horses were found tied and starving in Oklahoma near Cox’s home.
Testimony revealed the horses were stolen to resell. Cox wanted to buy her daughter a more competitive barrel racing horse.
Shaun Smith’s roping horse named Credit Card was the fifth horse. The sorrel gelding never made it home but was found slaughtered. Documents state Jackson watched as Credit Card was shot in the head and had his throat slit by Hamilton. Jackson stated that Credit Card was then “quartered” or cut into numerous pieces by Hamilton [and a juvenile] for easy transport and disposal.
Credit Card presented a unique challenge in their plan to flip him quickly for a profit – three brands, a big head, and the possibility of a microchip. Their plan to “change the brands” became more difficult with him, which may have led to his death.
SAU Horse Theft Defendants: where are they?
Cox was sentenced to 60 years in prison. Her appeals have been denied. She has not been prosecuted in Oklahoma.
Hamilton pleaded guilty in Arkansas and is serving 30 years. He also pleaded guilty to multiple felonies, including cruelty to animals, in Oklahoma’s case against him. He is serving both sentences concurrently in Arkansas.
Jackson is now living in Oklahoma where she is under maximum supervision. She must perform the following: community service, make restitution payments, abide by a curfew unless she is at work, school or church, and have an employment plan. Jackson is also supposed to pick-up litter and complete drug testing.