Cowboys & Criminals

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Update, 5/11/09:

As reported by SHARK, on April 16, Zeb Lanham pled guilty to felony domestic battery and

was sentenced to a 10-year unified prison term with the first five years fixed and the second five indeterminate. However, included in the plea agreement was the stipulation the judge retain jurisdiction of the case, allowing Lanham to complete a rehabilitation and education program. So Lanham was remanded to North Idaho Correctional Institution situated at Cottonwood for 180 days, in which he will complete the rider program, and attend the treatment classes set for him.

“What they actually do is, in part, determined by the charges they were convicted on,” Lee said of the rider treatment program.

After those 180 days, Lanham will return to the court and, based on the recommendation from the Idaho Department of Corrections on how Lanham did in his program, the judge will likely either order Lanham to serve the remainder of his sentence or waive prison time in favor of probation on the condition he cannot break any of the terms set.

So he could serve as little as 180 days for beating his partner, who was pregnant (and thus especially vulnerable) at the time. Just goes to show how little the patriarchy values women and non-human animals (remember, he also earns a living by abusing sentient creatures).

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In their current newsletter, SHARK highlights the arrest of “Bull Rider” Zeb Lanham – for felony domestic violence. Lanham was charged with beating his 22-year-old pregnant girlfriend, and subsequently pled guilty.

Man charged in violent beating episode of girlfriend
By Jessica Keller
Argus Observer
Friday, November 14, 2008 10:51 AM PST

FRUITLAND — A Sweet, Idaho, man and professional bull rider was arrested and charged with felony domestic violence following an incident that occurred Nov. 3 in Fruitland.

Zeb Lanham, 24, was arrested Nov 3 following an incident at the residence of Kimberly Butler, 22, his girlfriend and the woman with whom shares a child.

“A warrant was issued for his arrest, and he turned himself in on Nov. 4,” Payette County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Lee said Wednesday. “He is still in custody last I know. The court set a $200,000 bond in this case.”

Lee said police are still gathering evidence, so what he can say about the case is limited. According to the police report, however, law enforcement officials were called following an argument between Lanham and Butler. Lanham was reported to have caused “great bodily harm with traumatic injury on Butler’s face,” according to the police report. A Fruitland police officer interviewed Butler, who is also pregnant, at Holy Rosary Medical Center, where she was being treated. She was later transported by LifeFlight Air Ambulance to a Boise-area hospital for treatment of her injuries. Those injuries include a broken cheekbone and swelling that was apparently putting pressure on her brain, according to the police report. According to the police report, Butler entered a neighbor’s house to call 911 after she sustained her injuries. Lanham is scheduled to appear Monday in Payette County Court for his preliminary hearing.

Bullrider pleads guilty at arraignment session
By: JESSICA KELLER
ARGUS OBSERVER
Sunday, December 21, 2008 1:58 AM PST

PAYETTE—A professional bullrider charged with felony domestic violence pleaded guilty following a plea agreement during his arraignment Friday in Payette County District Court. […]

One of the terms of the agreement is that Lanham be sentenced to a 10-year unified prison term with the first five years fixed. The plea agreement also stipulates Lanham pay restitution, although the terms of that have not been decided upon yet. The prison sentence, however, comes with the stipulation at the Feb. 19 sentencing date, the prosecutors will recommend the judge retain jurisdiction of the case, allowing Lanham to complete a rehabilitation and education program, which usually lasts between four to six months, Lee said. Following the completion of the program, depending on the results, the Idaho Department of Corrections could recommend to the judge Lanham serve probation or serve the original sentence, or the judge can go ahead and impose the original sentence anyway.

“Based on the totality of the circumstances of the case, we determined that was an appropriate plea agreement in this matter,” Lee said.

In Idaho, if a person has not been convicted of a prior felony offense, it is unlikely he or she would go to prison for the initial conviction, regardless. Under the current plea agreement, Lanham will have to demonstrate prison is not the best option before a final decision is made.

Lee said, based on his records, Lanham does not have a prior felony conviction. According to Idaho Department of Corrections records, however, Lanham is facing misdemeanor battery charges in Gem County in a case that has been scheduled for jury trial. Lee said, while that case remains unresolved, it is impossible to say whether it will have any impact in Lanham’s sentencing or affect possible probation opportunities if his treatment program is completed successfully.

Of this most recent case, SHARK notes, “Another example of what research has proven, violence to animals is a precursor of violence to humans.”

Indeed, on their website, SHARK documents a number of cases of violent crime among rodeo participants; the target of the violence is often non-human animals, but other victimized groups include women, children and people of color:

(More below the fold…)