NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A yearling filly paces for her pasture mates. A sad reminder for Brenda Harris. She's wondering why Steven Spradley, a horse owner himself, would purposely shoot and kill four of her horses and then threaten another neighbor.
"I know I haven't had any contact with him that was anything but friendly. It was just an act of violence that there's no explanation for," Harris said following her loss.
"The rationale here makes no sense whatsoever," Sheriff Thomas Kerss echoed. Yet, investigators are trying to find a motive. They're wanting Spradely to provide the explanation. Until then, they can't rule out anything.
Kerss asks the typical questions in such random acts. "Were they angry, mad at the world, were they intoxicated, were they on illicit drugs? Just a number of things. Was it a mental episode?"
A girlfriend was with Steven the morning of the shootings. Tribious Ivie said Steven hosted a friend moving into a new house and showed off his horses to her small child. "He was in a fine mood. Just happy go lucky. I mean, he was all smiles," said Ivie.
Ivie described how Spradley would frequently leave the house to go hunting. "It was what he did. Sometimes at daybreak." But according to Ivie, Spradley didn't always need to make a kill. "He wouldn't even shoot a doe because he said it looked too pretty, and that was just two days ago," Ivie said.
Yet yesterday, Spradley entered the woods with a purpose near the County Road 2321 home he bought about six months ago. "He had two rifles. He had multiple rounds of ammunition," Kerss said.
Frank Harris watched his wife's horses fall to the ground. He's not wanting to talk about it. "He saw Steven from a distance and he saw him head to the neighbor's house," shared Brenda.
It was the home of Larry Wisener. He felt so endangered for his safety that he shot Spradley with a 45. The shot to the lower torso injured Spradley's colon and intestine. He's now wearing a colostomy bag. While Spradley was in the hospital, Wisener was out buying steel doors for his home, according to the Harris'.
"I can't say at this point that he would have stopped at only killing animals if this intervention had not occurred," Kerss shared.
Steven Spradley has been in trouble before, but not to this degree. The 27 year old grew up in the shadow of his parents successful business, Spradley signs. The father is deceased. The mother remains close to her son. Bail money is already being gathered.
Spradley is expected to be arraigned tomorrow on several felony charges.
Meanwhile, an otherwise quiet neighborhood wonders what will happen next if Spradley is released on bond.