Officials said that the man who shot and hurt Lady Gaga’s dog walker last year while he was trying to steal her French Bulldogs took a plea deal and was sentenced to 21 years in prison on Monday.
Authorities have said that the link to Lady Gaga was just a coincidence. The thieves probably didn’t know that the French Bulldogs belonged to the musician because they are a breed that can be worth thousands of dollars.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office says that James Howard Jackson, who was one of three men and two other people who took part in the violent robbery and its aftermath, pleaded no contest to one count of attempted murder. It wasn’t clear right away which lawyer Howard hired on Monday.
Ryan Fischer, the dog walker for the pop star, was seriously hurt in the attack. On Monday, he gave an impact statement to the court, which he posted on Instagram.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since I took Asia, Koji, and Gustav for an evening walk and, out of nowhere, had to fight with everything I had to keep those dogs from being stolen.
But that wasn’t enough. I was beaten, strangled, shot, and left to die on the sidewalk, bleeding out and gasping for air. and Koji and Gustav were gone.”
On February 24, 2021, Jackson and two others drove around Hollywood, West Hollywood, and the San Fernando Valley. Prosecutors said before that they were “looking for French bulldogs.” Fischer was with the pop star’s three pets when they found him.
During the robbery off of Sunset Boulevard, where two of the dogs were taken, Jackson shot Fischer. The dog walker’s screams were caught on a nearby doorbell camera: “Oh, my God! “I’ve Been Shot!” and “Help Me!” And “I’m bleeding out of my chest!”
In social media posts, Fischer said that the violence was “a very close call with death.” In his statement on Monday, he said that the shooting is still affecting his body and mind. He had to have part of his lung taken out, and he is still going to physical therapy.
In the statement, Fischer also talked directly to Jackson and said that he forgives him and the other people involved in the attack. “You changed my life completely, and I know I can’t fully get over the night you shot me until I told you those words.”
Jennifer McBride, who was also charged in the crime, gave back the stolen dogs after a few days.
At the time, the pop star had offered a $500,000 reward “no questions asked” for the dogs’ safe return.
The DA’s office said Monday that Jackson also admitted to causing serious bodily harm and to having struck someone before. The office of the prosecutor did not say right away what the previous strike was.
In a statement, the office said, “The plea agreement holds Mr. Jackson responsible for a heartless act of violence and gives our victim justice.” Howard was charged with trying to kill someone, planning to rob someone, and attacking someone with a semiautomatic gun.
Jackson was accidentally let out of jail earlier this year because of a mistake in the paperwork. Almost five months later, he was found again.
Harold White, who was also a partner, pleaded “no contest” to a charge of being an ex-convict with a gun on Monday. At the time, White was dating Mcbride, and he will be sentenced next year. McBride’s case is still ongoing.
After the shooting, the couple is said to have tried to help White’s son, Jaylin White, avoid getting arrested.
This year, Jaylin White and Lafayette Whaley both pleaded guilty to robbery.
Last year, when Jackson and the younger White were looking for the expensive dogs, Whaley drove them around. Prosecutors have said before that Jackson and White jumped out and attacked Fischer. They hit and choked the dog walker, and then Jackson pulled out a semiautomatic gun and fired, hitting Fischer once before the three of them ran away.
Representatives for Lady Gaga did not respond right away to requests for comment.
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