Entertainment

Man who shot Lady Gaga's dog walker and stole her French bulldogs gets 21 years

James Howard Jackson, one of three men and two accomplices who took part in the violent robbery, pleaded no contest to one count of attempted murder.

The man who shot Lady Gaga’s dog walker and stole her French bulldogs has been sentenced to 21 years in prison after taking a plea deal, officials in the US said.

James Howard Jackson, one of three men and two accomplices who took part in the violent robbery, pleaded no contest to one count of attempted murder, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said on Monday.

Jackson and the others drove around Hollywood, the city of West Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley on February 24 2021 “looking for French bulldogs”, prosecutors said previously.

They found Lady Gaga’s dog walker, Ryan Fischer, with the pop star’s three pets.

Jackson shot Mr Fischer during the robbery near Sunset Boulevard, when two of the dogs were taken. A nearby doorbell camera recorded the dog walker screaming, “oh, my God, I’ve been shot”, “help me” and “I’m bleeding out from my chest”.

Mr Fischer later called the violence a “very close call with death”.

The dogs, Koji and Gustav, were returned several days later by Jennifer McBridge, who was also charged in the crime.

Popstar and actress Lady Gaga had offered a 500,000 US dollar (£409,945) reward – “no questions asked” to be reunited with her animals.

Jackson also admitted an allegation of inflicting great bodily injury and to a prior strike, the district attorney’s office said. It did not say what the prior strike was.

“The plea agreement holds Mr Jackson accountable for perpetrating a cold-hearted violent act and provides justice for our victim,” the office said in a statement.

The Lady Gaga connection was a coincidence, authorities said.

The motive was the value of the French bulldogs, a breed which can cost thousands, and detectives do not believe the thieves knew the dogs belonged to the musician.

Jackson, who was mistakenly released from jail earlier this year due to a clerical error and recaptured almost five months later, had been charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a robbery and assault with a semi-automatic firearm.

James Howard Jackson
Jackson shot Mr Fischer during the robbery near Sunset Boulevard, when two of the dogs were taken (US Marshals Service/AP)

Another accomplice, Harold White, pleaded no contest on Monday to a count of ex-convict in possession of a gun.

White, who was in a relationship with McBride at the time, will be sentenced next year.

The couple had allegedly tried to help White’s son, Jaylin White, avoid arrest in the aftermath of the shooting.

Jaylin White and Lafayette Whaley earlier this year pleaded no contest to robbery.

Whaley drove Jackson and the younger White around last year as they searched for the pricy dogs.

Jackson and White jumped out and attacked Mr Fischer, prosecutors said previously.

They hit and choked the dog walker and Jackson pulled out a semiautomatic gun and fired, striking Fischer once before the trio fled.