BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches man who shot and killed four horses before being shot himself by a neighbor in January today pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Stephen Spradley, 28, was charged with burglary, deadly conduct and four counts of cruelty to animals after a Nov. 2009 shooting spree.
According to previous reports, Spradley shot the four horses before knocking on the door of one neighbor on County Road 232 and yelling at him that he was going to kill him. The neighbor instead shot Spradley in the lower torso.
A part of the plea bargain was that Spradley reimburse the victims for the loss of their animals.
"This has been a difficult and frustrating case," District Attorney Nicole LoStracco said. "What the defendant did was so serious, frightening and dangerous, but there was no crime that carried a sentence greater than 10 years that really applied to the facts and circumstances of this case. It is the unfortunate burden of this office that sometimes the law does not provide for an adequate punishment to make up for the shocking nature of the crime and the emotional traumas suffered by the victims. However, I believe that the community is safer now that we know that the defendant will be in prison. Drugs were a part of these offenses, and our hope is that addiction counseling and treatment will be offered and accepted during his incarceration. Perhaps when he is released, the defendant can again become a productive member of our community. If that is not his choice, these convictions will raise the punishment potential in any future offenses with which he might be involved."
LoStracco said the victims of the case agreed to the plea bargain.