A Haskell, Okla. man was sentenced to 18 years with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODC) after he pleaded guilty to stealing 18 head of cattle from a rancher in Muskogee County.
In addition to the theft charges, Billy Chris Barnett III, 25, also pleaded guilty on a second degree burglary charge and unauthorized use of implement of husbandry and conspiracy. The additional charges stemmed from the theft of a stock trailer and cattle panels from a second Muskogee County rancher that were used in the theft and transportation of the stolen cattle.
Barnett will serve 6 years in ODC and then serve a 12-year suspended sentence for the crimes.
Barnett was arrested by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger John Cummings in September. The stolen cattle were recovered and returned to their owner.
“With the recent dramatic rise in cattle theft and agriculture theft cases across the state, it is my hope that this sentence will send a strong message to those who may be targeting ranchers or agriculture producers in the future.” Cummings said.
Charges are still pending on a second suspect believed to have been involved in the thefts.
TSCRA would like to thank TSCRA Special Ranger Bart Perrier; Rae Lea Spears and Faye Banks, investigators with the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office; Dustin Dorr, investigator with the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office; and special agent Kent Dowell with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.