Plea deal signed for first defendant in ‘Forever’ horse theft

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The first plea for the suspects in the theft and destruction of a memorial horse honoring two McNiel students who were shot walking home from school is set for next month.

Attorneys have agreed to a plea deal for Zachary Kaiser, 19, of Bowie for 2 years in jail, suspended to 4 years probation on a charge of theft over $2,500.

The plea also includes $4,000 restitution.

The “Forever Horse” honored slain students Lauren Landavazo and her friend Makayla Smith, who was wounded, as they walked 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.

A second Bowie youth, Tyler Darland, has a hearing set for November 16 but no plea agreement has been filed.

Two other suspects were also charged, but no indictments have been filed in their cases.

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