WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Just a few days after a man on probation for the theft of a horse statue honoring Lauren Landavazo and Makayla Smith was released from jail for violating his probation, he was once again taken into custody, this time in open court.
Dakota Paul James, 21, of Wichita Falls, was taken into the custody of the Wichita County Sheriff’s Office during a scheduled motion hearing in the 78th District Court on Friday, October 6, 2023.
James was booked into the Wichita County Jail on Friday and charged with five counts of unauthorized absence from a community correctional facility and one count of bail jumping and failing to appear. His bonds on the six charges total $290,000.
While limited details were available on the new charges against James at the time of the publication of this story, they stem from five dates in December 2022, each one week apart. The bail jumping charge shows an offense date of June 23, 2023.
The latest charges filed against James come just one week after he was arrested on Friday, September 29, 2023, after failing to show up in court.
Records show James has been cited twice for not showing up in court and was also arrested shortly after being sentenced to probation for not showing up for his 30-day weekend jail sentence.
Following that arrest, the motion to revoke James’ probation claimed he also failed to show for his weekend jail time for another five weekends and has served none of his 30-day jail sentence. It also alleges he failed to report to his probation officer.
In November 2022, James and three co-defendants were sentenced to eight years of community supervision for their role in the theft and destruction of the “Forever” painted horse statue that was placed in front of McNiel Junior High.
The statue was a monument honoring Lauren Landavazo and her friend Makayla Smith, who were both shot while walking home from McNiel in 2016. Tragically, Landavazo did not survive. The statue was erected in 2018 in memory of Landavazo and in honor of Smith.
Following the theft and damage of the “Forever” statue by James and his three co-defendants, the monument was replaced at McNiel Junior High in June 2021.
Vern and Bianka Landavazo, Lauren’s father and mother, requested that all four defendants, including James, be sentenced to probation and given a second chance.
James is the second of the four convicted in the case to be rearrested for violating their probation sentence.