A jury found a Kelso man guilty Friday of participating in a lethal scheme to ransom a pet bulldog for drugs and money.

Following a two-day trial, the jury declared Jesse James Clark, 39, guilty of first-degree extortion and second-degree possession of stolen property.

Prosecutors said Clark kept Jagger, a beloved pet bulldog, at his home after the animal was snatched from a Woodland yard in October 2011.

The jury deliberated for about four hours before delivering Friday’s verdict.

Clark faces about three to three-and-a-half years in prison when he is sentenced March 7, prosecutors said.

The other participants in the plot — Ivey Rose Svaleson and her boyfriend, Johnny Lee Jordan, both of Longview — were convicted last year of stealing Jagger and sending text messages to Jagger’s owner, Jennifer Lynn Thomas, 40, demanding that she hand over her painkillers and $1,000.

The dognappers threatened to torture and kill Jagger if Thomas didn’t comply. Sheriff’s deputies tried to track down the dog, but were unable to. The dog’s dismembered body was later found along a string of railroad tracks in Kelso. It was never made clear how Jagger died.

The case drew international attention.

Thomas had been collecting baby clothes, a stroller and other items to help Svaleson, who was pregnant and homeless at the time.

Thomas, who has multiple sclerosis and chronic pain from a motorcycle accident, described Jagger as a beloved companion. She cried Wednesday as she recounted the ordeal on the witness stand.

Clark was also found guilty of two counts of bail jumping for missing his previous court dates.


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