WRITTEN BY JAN FALSTAD / BILLINGS GAZETTE
Cross-posted from The Independent Record
BILLINGS, MT (Dec. 13, 2012) — Yellowstone County Justice of the Peace Larry Herman sentenced Billings livestock breeder James Leachman on Wednesday to serve five years in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility, with all but 120 days suspended, for horse abuse.
The judge also fined Leachman $5,000 and prohibited him from owning cows or horses for the duration of his sentence.
Herman granted all the jail time and fines sought by the prosecution. Leachman faced a maximum five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Leachman, 70, was led away in handcuffs after the sentencing, but he plans to appeal his conviction to Yellowstone District Court. His son, Seth Leachman, was making arrangements in the courtroom to post a $5,000 bond to immediately release his father from jail during the appeal.
At least four of Leachman’s horses died in “horrible agony,” the judge said.
All Leachman had to do, Herman said, was attend to his horses that were crippled from plastic leg bands put on their front legs for identification purposes, bands that weren’t adjusted or removed as the horses grew. Leachman has taken no responsibility for the dead horses he’s charged with abusing, Herman said, or many more in his herd of more than 800 horses that were limping from the tight bands.
“He indicated at trial and today he would to it all over again,” the judge said. Read full report >>