A man charged last year with selling a horse he leased from a woman will be on probation for five years, court records show.

Michael D. Ryals pleaded guilty to embezzlement after he sold a horse he leased from Mikeala Rodriguez last year. Ryals, 23, sold the horse to his uncle, Leonard Trammel, who then gave the animal to his grandson.

Special District Judge Holli Wells, in a related matter, previously ordered the horse returned to Rodriguez. Sheriff’s deputies seized the horse with a search warrant served last month on the property of Bobby Trammel, Leonard’s son.

Ryals entered his plea before Special District Judge Sandy Crosslin and was granted a deferred five-year judgment. He was ordered to pay a $500 fine, $200 victim compensation assessment, court costs and $3,500 in restitution. He will appear before Crosslin on Dec. 20 for review of the case.

If Ryals successfully completes the deferred period, he can ask Crosslin to expunge his record as it pertains to this case. If he fails to complete the probation period, he could be sentenced to five years in prison.  Prosecutors would have to seek acceleration of the deferred judgment based on some allegation that he violated the terms of his probation.

Ryals was represented by Jim Cosby. Assistant District Attorneys Josh King and B.J. Baker have appeared for the state at various times in the case.

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