Plaintiff Would Cooperate in Saddlebred's Exhumation

The owner of the ranch near Versailles, Ky., where an American Saddlebred was buried after brutal attacks led to his eventual euthanasia, has expressed in court documents that she would cooperate with requests for exhuming the horse's body if it were to be reburied at her farm and other conditions were met. Additionally, the lawyers of both parties in the case have been instructed to prepare for a settlement conference and pre-trial conference next June.

Wild Eyed and Wicked, the Saddlebred in question, was one of five horses injected with a tissue-killing substance in the summer of 2003 in their stalls at Dave and Dena Lopez' Double D Ranch. (See for archived articles on the case.)

These developments are the latest in a series of legal wranglings that began in early 2004 between plaintiff Double D and defendants Joe and Sally Jackson (owners of Wicked). One lawsuit requested a court-ordered exhumation of Wicked's body for forensic examination, a motion that was held in abeyance pending court receipt of certain information. The Jacksons' counsel filed a renewed motion for exhumation in September after the receipt of the information.

On Oct. 4, Double D's counsel submitted a response to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky to the renewed motion. Double D wouldn't oppose the exhumation of the body if it would be re-buried at the ranch following forensic testing. (Sally Jackson wants the body re-interred somewhere else.) Also, any evidence obtained in the exhumation and testing must remain in Kentucky State Police (KSP) custody and not be tampered with. The final condition was that evidence must be made available not only to the KSP and Commonwealth's Attorney, but also to the plaintiffs and their counsel.

The settlement conference was assigned for June 16, 2005. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for June 30, 2005, and all pretrial filings are to be made on or before June 23, 2005.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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