Credit Card never made it back to his family.
Arkansas’ highest court upheld the conviction of Wendi Cox on Thursday. She was convicted of stealing horses and equipment from Southern Arkansas University rodeo team members. She is serving a 60-year prison sentence.
Cox’s conviction was previously upheld on appeal. The opinion states Cox’s attorney alleges a new argument that was not presented to the lower court. The Supreme Court of Arkansas ruled “we will not consider it for the first time on appeal.”
Five horses, equipment, and a horse trailer were stolen from the SAU rodeo barn. Only four horses made it back to Arkansas alive after the theft. Left to die in Oklahoma without food or water, tied to trees so they couldn’t escape – help came for them before it was too late. While not unscathed, they survived being taken hostage.
The sorrel roping horse, Credit Card, owned by Shaun Smith, was killed by his captors at Cox’s direction. The gelding was shot, his throat slit, and his body was cut into pieces so he could be easily moved. The reason for his senseless killing still remains unclear to many. Testimony revealed the horses were stolen to resell, so Cox could buy her daughter a more competitive barrel racing horse.
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 micro-chip. Their plan to “change the brands” became more difficult with him, which may have led to his death.
Additional defendants pleaded guilty for their roles in the Arkansas case. Included was Cox’s daughter, a former SAU student and rodeo team member, Jaci Rae Jackson. After testifying against her mother, she pleaded guilty to six counts of conspiracy to commit theft of property and was sentenced to 10 years behind bars.
Hailed to slaughter Credit Card was Cox’s one-time love interest William “Billy” Hamilton, Jr. Already a convicted felon, he pleaded guilty in Arkansas and was sentenced to 30 years.
Justice was served in Credit Card’s slaying in Oklahoma when Hamilton pleaded guilty in that state to multiple felonies, including cruelty to animals. He is serving his sentences concurrently in Arkansas at the East Arkansas Regional Unit.
For those that haven’t been able to get enough of the sordid case, Rough Stock: The Southern Arkansas University Horse Theft Case is a true crime novel by Mike Thompson. The former criminal defense attorney, located in Texas, explores the November 2011 thefts and indulges readers in never before seen documents and details.
Order the true crime novel Rough Stock