Equine Rescue

Jury finds Jason Meduna 3-Strikes Rancher Guilty on most Counts

By MAUNETTE LOEKS

Rescued 3-Strikes Mustangs at Habitat for Horses last Spring - Photo by R.T. Fitch

BRIDGEPORT — A Morrill County District Court jury deliberated six hours before returning a guilty verdict in the case against Jason Meduna.

Meduna was accused of 149 counts of animal abuse, a Class IV felony.

The jury found him guilty of 145 counts.

Seven initial counts applied to specific horses, including two dead horses, one horse euthanized after Meduna’s arrest, and horses named El Mariachi, Wendy and Blue that were treated by veterinarians.

Seventy-four counts related to dead horses found in pits on the ranch and the remaining counts applied to horses seized from the ranch with poor body conditions.

In closing statements, Morrill County Attorney Jean Rhodes alleged that Meduna crafted stories about poisonings and the theft of a horse to create a diversion. She asked the jury to find Meduna guilty of neglecting the animals by depriving them of food, water and necessary care. He had a network of support, but never asked anyone about the “real problem” of starvation.

Meduna failed to get care for the animals because “(he) was willing to protect his image at the expense of the horses and burros at his place,” she said.

Meduna’s attorney John Berry asked that the jury find him not guilty, saying that Meduna may have been guilty of “stupidity” but firmly believed that his horses were suffering from poisoning or illness.

“He may have been arrogant,” he said. “He may have been stupid. He may not have been a ‘true cowboy.’ He did what he could to protect them. He may not have made the right decisions. In fact, he made some pretty stupid decisions.”

However, Berry said,  cause of death couldn’t be determined in dead horses found on the ranch and that horses that survived didn’t suffer any long-lasting effects. He argued that if Meduna were guilty of any charge, he would be guilty of a lesser degree of animal abuse, a Class I misdemeanor.

The jury was instructed to weigh the Class IV felony count of animal abuse on each count. They were also allowed to weigh the lesser misdemeanor offense or return a verdict of not guilty. Rhodes said the jury found Meduna guilty of 145 counts, returning four not guilty verdicts on counts involving dead horses. She said those horses were skeletons.

Morrill County Sheriff John Edens said he felt that 145 out of 149 counts was a good result.

“It tells us that the jury was very diligent in the case. They considered each and every count.”

The verdict “showed the jury really worked hard,” she said, saying she respected the work of the jury, law enforcement and others involved with the case.

Edens agreed. “I appreciate the work that the jury did.They had to sit through a long week of a lot of testimony and deliberations were lengthy. I think they did a very good job.”

Meduna is set to be sentenced on Feb. 23, 2:30 p.m. Meduna faces a maximum of five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine or both on each count. There is no minimum sentence for a Class IV felony.

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43 replies »

  1. Thank you God for justice for these horses. Thank you for the jurors who learned the truth and stood up for the truth and for justice, may this be a tide turner in this country for justice for horses, the knowledge that abuse, neglect and lies by ANY person or agency will NO longer be accepted, tolerated or allowed to go unchecked and unpunished.

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  2. I believe his true punishment will be delivered when he has to meet his maker but we will have to be satisfied with this for the time being. The jury did a good job. One question, what is the posibility that each sentence can run concurrently and this excuse for a human being will be out after a maximim of 10 years. I guess I dont really understand the maximum and minimum charges very well. How does this all affect his wife? She was in as deep as he was?

    Good job Pam, you are in my thoughts.

    Lori

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    • His wife, Anessa Meduna ( or Anissa as I’ve seen it commonly reported) is the actual scum of this earth and got away without so much as a slap on the wrist because she sold her husband out. While I’m glad that she found the strength to sell out a man so horrible she was JUST as responsible and as far as I know has never faced any criminal charges. According to her family she got off because she was high the entire time and “didn’t know what was happening?” How can you not notice the suffering of HUNDREDS of innocent animals? How can you not notice THAT MANY bodies being pushed into PITS. There’s no way, There’s just no way. She’s guilty and she got away with it, free to live out her scummy life.

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  3. Lets never forget it was the BLM that inspite of the BLM self claimed “experts inspections” placed over 200 mustangs on that hell-hole. It was the BLM that offered more mustangs to that death camp aswell.

    The BLM overstocked that ranch with mustangs they KNEW were being sent to their doom.

    BLM = experts in placing mustangs on to small a pasture to support the numbers.

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  4. Hi Lucille, thanks I do understand that bit but sometimes they allow the 5 year imprisonment counts to run at the same time, so that means that he will in the end only do 5 years in total. I was wanting to know what the chances are that they will run consecutively or concurrently, one after the other or at the same time.

    Quote
    Meduna faces a MAXIMUM of five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine OR both on EACH count. There is no minimum sentence for a Class IV felony.
    UNQUOTE

    What worries me is if the judge will nail him with the imprisonment AND the fines and if he will goe the imprisonment route, if he will let one sentence run after the other or all at one time. Hope that makes sense.

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  5. >The BLM overstocked that ranch with mustangs they KNEW were being sent to their doom.

    So why can’t the BLM be blamed and brought to court too for what happened to these horses?

    By the way, are there other places where the same thing is happening right now? Who is checking on all the horses that BLM places all over the place?

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    • NO ONE! That is who is checking on those mustangs, i know because i have one mustang adopted and neither representative from BLM or my sponsor have ever checked on him. They say when you adopt they will be checking but that is a lie.

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  6. Justice has won, will the sentence be enough? Pam has won for El Mariachi and Hope! Thank you for enduring this and showing that it is right to stand up and demand the law do all that is possible. In this case it did. May all the spirits of those tortured horses now rest in peace. mar

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    • yes may their soals and wonderful spirits rest in peace. and my God above give them their just punishment, because all they get here on this earth is a smack on the hand. God pless and keep all who love and protect those wonderful, smart, gentle mustangs. My prayers are with Madeleine Pickens and her heroic fight for justice and a sanctuary where they are truly protected and run free. Thank you Madeleine for never giving up. we love you and we support you. spoken for my wonderful mustang Rock. i wish i could give him back his life, & his family,before BLM, before those roundups, before the two years he spent in a holding pen, before his life was ripped apart,

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  7. You know, in some states the person that sells/gives drugs to a person that dies from drug related death or overdose can be charged as an accessory.

    Wouldn’t it be great if someone sued the DOI/BLM as an accessory to animal cruelty and abuse!

    Anyone know if Meduna’s wife is being prosecuted…the help, anyone outside of Mustang Man? After all, he had some assistance in this disaster.

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    • Sadly I don’t think it can work that way because technically BLM are only doing their jobs. It’s sort of like blaming the pet shop owner for selling you a puppy from puppy mills, you didn’t have to buy that puppy.

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  8. Yes let’s hope his cellmate is a horse lover/animal lover and will take him for his ole lady. He won’t be walking to good and can’t sit down to well either. Talk about payback. Five years of this and he will never be interested in horses again.

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  9. THANK GOD, and them any who assisted in this arrest, that these horses suffering has been vindicated. LET’s hope and pray that the BLM will realize the tragedy here..taking GODS creatures here on earth from HEAVEN in the wild..to HELL
    WE HAVE TO KEEP FIGHTING the round ups of our beloved treasure
    AMERICAS WILD MUSTANGS
    Let’s stop it !

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  10. Thanks to all who helped bring this man to justice. Have all of the Nebraska 200 been adopted? I hope they are all safe and sound now. The images of their forlorn faces still haunt me.

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  11. hello; I noticed alot of “old brown hay on the ground; not being a horse efficiando; I was wondering;

    Would the old brown hay ont he groudn be for bedding as straw ?

    and then the big yellow amd green fresh Hay in the Bales and Bins be for feed ?

    my point being; maybe the old brown hay on the ground was making the horses sick !

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  12. ps I notice this same old brown straw on the ground in the BLM holding corrals; so i was just hoping the horses were not eating old hay making them sick; they should be getting fresh green Hay in a big bin feeder; the BLM horses should be; the BLM says one Corral Horse @ Fallon “died from digestive upset due to change in forage;

    yeah; well maybe the 3rd Mare died at Fallon beczuae she ate old moldy hay ! ! !

    just my “2 cents: Anna/ Conn. us ps any updates on the Foal named Trooper recently?
    ps is that Salt Hay they put down in the BLM corrals; that can be bad for horses; Salt Hay sometimes contains a bacteria which can cause a skin infection ! ! True !

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    • blm update ; 26 horses have perished as of jan. 30th; def. due to old moldy straw pens the horses eat “by mistake…9the straw was put there for horses bedding; mold contins toxins and mold loves hay and straw esp. cold wet straw like @ Fallon!

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      • Update: over 40 horses have perished @ Fallon; not including the 30 or 40 :miscarriages; this can be a sign of “ergot in rye grass straw or hay;

        I see so much wet old straw in the pens at fallon and the same old Wet straw @ 3 strikes ranch; don’t these people know to leave wet straw in the corrals causes fungus? I ask you; if you were a horse; would you rather stand on “cold or warm wet damp straw?

        or nice cold clean good ol’ earth ?

        In wet straw the horses hooves get “soft and fungus; in a clean floor; such as wood; rock or earth;
        the water does not seep up into the horses hoofs causing chills and such;
        I write to the BLM and tell them to get the wet straw out of the pens; but they won’t; note: DRY STRAW OR HAY in a horses stall or barn is great
        but not wet moldy hay in crowded pens;
        causes MOLD ! Mold bad for Equines !(esp. Rye grass mold; I have read;anne

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  13. This certainly makes it all worthwhile! I have a lot of friends who like to criticize the HSUS, but without them, people like me could not have been there to get those horses loaded up and to safety. And the verdict speaks for how well the conditionof each animal was documented! (By the way, it also speaks to the fact that you will not “blow” a criminal case by talking about it on the Internet – this case was widely discussed and documented. Always expose an abuser, it is the only way to prevent others from unwittingly giving them more horses.)

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  14. thank you to the jury. This man needs to be made an example of – for the genocide and pure cruelty that he has inflicted on pure and innocent lives.
    so therefore i am hoping for a very fair 5 years for each count. that would be 725 years in prison!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and that would be FAIR!!!!

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  15. When I couldn’t take care of mine I found homes to give them too or rescue ranches. I only have 3 left but if I can’t take care of them I’ll give them away. These are registared animals worth $2,000 up. I love horses and there is no excuse to let them get that bad off. The jury did the right thing

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  16. I’m glad to hear justice was served. I knew of this man before he was found out for what he was doing as he was at one point linked up with another (now known) offender Carol Paselk, of Hopkins County Texas who had her 57 horses seized as well last year. Carol had assembled a group of artists to put together a big mural known as Glory of Horses, and in the early stages, was working with Meduna to arrange for the unveiling to be held there. She wrote to us artists often about the goings on at Three Strikes Ranch, and we all had no idea what the truth was until things started coming out into the open last year. I only wish that Ms Paselk was being dealt just as severe a sentence as what Meduna is getting, for, in my opinion, she is a danger and is still “out there” on the loose, giving advice like she gave to Meduna as how to take care of horses.

    On a separate note, it’s too bad that the BLM couldn’t be dealt a similar kind of sentence for the current “culling” of the wild horse herds that is going on right now, all in the name of clearing the land for mining interests. :-\

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  17. Pam and Michael are exceptional souls with great hearts. El Mariachi and Hope look wonderful now. They trust Michael about as much as they can, but stay wary. I doubt they’ll ever truly trust humans again and will always be afraid that the food will run out. If not for the wonderful guardians of them, they wouldn’t have the blessing of space and peace now. As for this entire grueling experience and this serial abuser of horses, I’m so happy to see a resolution like this happening. Perhaps this case will become paramount as an example for other cases of abuse. I pray.

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  18. Sheri, you took the words right out of my mouth. Note the same old poisoning stories….makes you wonder…..thank God someone else stood up and saved these horses and the jury found him guilty on all counts. I really do think that there should be no way that he should ever see the sunshine again. Meduna and Ms. Paselk deserve to be behind bars for a very long time and never be allowed to have animals of any description ever again.

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  19. I will be watching this with great interest on Tuesday to see what becomes of this excuse for a human being. It has been a long wait and my thoughts go to those who are so closely involved with this.

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    • We will give you the latest and the greatest as soon as we know.

      We have a very core and central interest in this as Habitat for Horses was the organization that was given the horses by the judge and 200+ mustangs was quite a high order. Thank goodness for Front Range, the HSUS and many other groups and individuals who came to the aide of the horses.

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  20. Jason Meduna should never be allowed to own another animal for the rest of his life, in fact this lowlife along with his idiotic lawyer should both rot in jail…Meduna for abuse on the horses and lawyer Barry for helping him to concoct this pathetic story. No one in their right mind would try to defend such a vile person that would let horses starve to death!!! It is about time the laws change and start defending all helpless animals that suffer at the hands of the so called humans!!! I ask that you set an example of Meduna and keep him in jail (no parole) so he can never hurt another animal ever again. Animals can’t speak for themselves they need people and laws to protect them on a daily basis. Thank you

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  21. I hope this sadistic moron never gets out of jail! How can he claim to be a “rancher” if he has no idea how to care for them.
    The BLM are also sadistic morons for letting this imbecile have anything to do with horses – maybe that was the plan all along!
    Shame, shame, shame on them all.

    Like

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