A man accused of shooting Lady Gaga’s dog walker, before kidnapping the pop star’s French bulldogs, pleaded no contest to attempted murder, accepting a 21-year prison sentence, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office confirmed to the Washington Post.
James Howard Jackson, 20, is one of five people charged with crimes linked to the shooting of Ryan Fischer, who was severely wounded. In February 2021, Jackson and two others – 21-year-old Jaylin Keyshawn White and 28-year-old Lafayette Shon Whaley – approached Fischer and tried to take the three French bulldogs Fischer was walking.
The three suspects were not aware the dogs belonged to Lady Gaga, Los Angeles police have said.
French bulldogs are a popular breed that can sell for thousands of dollars. Last year, there was an attempted kidnapping of a French bulldog in Texas, and another puppy was taken at gunpoint in Washington, D.C.
In the ensuing struggle in Los Angeles, Jackson shot Fischer with a .40-caliber handgun. Jackson and his accomplices then grabbed two of the three dogs Fischer had been walking, got into a vehicle and fled. Fischer suffered serious injuries, including a gunshot wound to his chest, authorities said. Doctors later removed a portion of his lungs, Fischer told Rolling Stone in August.
White and Whaley pleaded no contest earlier this year to second-degree robbery charges, the Associated Press reported.
In a statement posted Monday on social media, Fischer recounted the attack. “It’s hard to believe that it’s nearing two years since I was taking Asia, Koji and Gustav out for an evening stroll when – in an instant – I suddenly found myself fighting with everything I had to protect those dogs from being stolen,” he wrote. “But it wasn’t enough: I was beaten, strangled, shot and left to die bleeding out … gasping for my life. And Koji and Gustav were gone.”
Jennifer McBride, 52, returned the dogs to a local police station after Lady Gaga offered a $500,000 reward. McBride claimed she had found the dogs.
But authorities later charged McBride and Harold White, 42, who were in a relationship at the time of the crime, with one count each of accessory after the fact. White was also charged with one count of possession of a firearm, and McBride faced one count of receiving stolen property, prosecutors said.
White is the father of Jaylin Keyshawn White. McBride and the elder White had allegedly tried to help the younger White avoid arrest after the shooting, according to the Associated Press.
It was not immediately clear who the attorneys were for the five defendants. The five were arrested in April in connection with the shooting and robbery.
Jackson was mistakenly released from custody in April this year because of a “clerical error,” the U.S. Marshals Service said in a news release. He was recaptured in August, the AP reported.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.