EL CENTRO — Jason Jackson, former mayor of El Centro, was held to answer on one felony count of alleged cruelty to an animal at his preliminary hearing Tuesday at the Superior Court of Imperial County.
Jackson was charged on suspicion of one felony count of cruelty to an animal on December 8, 2016, by the Imperial County District Attorney’s Office. Reportedly, Jackson’s horse was found with no food or water on February 27, 2016.
The Honorable William D. Lehman was the presiding judge.
The prosecution presented four witnesses, including the people that reportedly found the emaciated horse, and a member of the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office.
Based on the testimonies, the prosecution asked the court that Jackson be held on one felony count of alleged cruelty to an animal.
Jackson’s attorney, Ryan Childers, asked the court for a reduction of the charge of a felony to a misdemeanor, since there was no evidence Jackson did not feed or water his horse for a long period of time and Jackson was a community leader, business owner, city councilman, and former mayor of El Centro.
Judge Lehman said there was significant evidence the horse had not been fed in a long time, and Jackson was aware the horse was not being properly cared for, which justified an offense had occurred.
Lehman found there was probable cause to pursue the felony charge and denied the request to lower the charge to a misdemeanor.
Jackson will be arraigned on January 24 and trial dates will be set.