First “Forever” horse theft defendant pleads guilty

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The first of four suspects in the theft and destruction of the “Forever” horse honoring two McNiel students who were shot walking home from school has pleaded guilty and been sentenced.

According to records, Zachary Kaiser, 19, of Bowie pleaded guilty Tuesday in 78th District Court to theft over $2,500. The plea deal was for two years in jail, suspended to 4 years probation, and a $4,000 fine.

Zachary Kaiser

The “Forever Horse” was created in memory of Lauren Landavazo, who was shot and killed, and her friend Makayla Smith, who was wounded, walking home from school.

In October of 2020, the statue was ripped from its base in front of McNiel Junior High and later found inside of a barn in Clay County thanks to a Crime Stoppers tip.

A replacement horse was dedicated and installed last May.

Tyler Darland

A second Bowie youth, Tyler Darland, also had a hearing set for Tuesday but it was reset.

A plea offer was filed today which would give him 3 years probation, a $750 fine and restitution.

Two other defendants in this case, Brayden Seward and Dakota James were recently indicted and their arraignments are set for Nov. 19.

On Monday, Seward’s attorney waived arraignment and entered a plea of not guilty and asked the case be set for trial.

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