Leachman on trial for horse abuse. Photo: Paul Ruhter/Billings Gazette.

Leachman horse abuse trial begins

Leachman on trial for horse abuse. Photo: Paul Ruhter/Billings Gazette.
PHOTO CREDIT: PAUL RUHTER / BILLINGS GAZETTE.
James Leachman of Billings listens to jury selection Monday in his trial on charges of misdemeanor animal abuse in Yellowstone County Justice Court.

Cross-posted from the Billings Gazette

WRITTEN BY JAN FALSTAD

BILLINGS — ( A jury was selected Monday during the opening day of trial for James Leachman of Billings, who is charged with abusing five horses on a ranch he once owned on the Crow Reservation.

A jury of six with two alternates was sworn in Monday afternoon in Yellowstone County Justice Court. The panel was selected from a pool of more than 50 potential jurors, who were questioned for several hours in private in Justice of the Peace Larry Herman’s chambers.

On Jan. 21, 2011, the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office filed the misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty against Leachman for a handful of horses that died or had to be euthanized at his former Home Place ranch during the winter of 2010-2011. He is charged with failing to provide adequate water or feed for his horses and failing to adjust or remove leg bands as the horses grew, resulting in severe injuries.

Leachman pleaded not guilty to all counts on April 20, 2011, and asked for a jury trial.

Yellowstone County Sheriff’s deputies and volunteers fed the horses at the ranch through the winter.

Half of the prospective jurors were dismissed after the one-by-one questioning in the judge’s chambers. The rest were questioned further in open court. Read full report >>

RELATED READING

Prosecutors request new Judge in James Leachman horse cruelty case; Tuesday’s Horse; May 5, 2011

Leachman given 10 days to move horses; Tuesday’s Horse; April 21, 2011

Leachman denied public defender in horse abuse case; Tuesday’s Horse; April 17, 2011

Rescued from starvation, Leachman horses may now be eaten; Tuesday’s Horse; March 23, 2011

American Humane Association writes big check for Leachman horses; Tuesday’s Horse; February 1, 2011

Who is responsible for the Leachman horses?; Tuesday’s Horse; January 31, 2011

Students don hats for Leachman horses; January 29, 2011

First hay drop for starving Montana horses a success; Tuesday’s Horse; January 28, 2011

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