Alabama Woman Charged with Killing Show Horse for Insurance Money

June 16, 2008

Police said a south Alabama woman admitted to shooting her show horse to death in May, burning a barn with the animal inside and attempting to collect $100,000 in insurance on the horse named Abby.

Brenda Gradia, 41, of Flomaton, also is accused of collecting $30,000 in insurance money on another horse that she claimed died of a snake bite in December, police said. Flomaton Police Chief Mike Lambert said that horse carcass is buried on her property.

Lambert said Gradia has admitted both incidents. But her attorney, Ernie White of Brewton, said June 13 his client will plead not guilty at a later hearing. He said he hasn’t read her statement to police and could not comment on it.

Investigators told the Press-Register in Mobile that Gradia admitted shooting Abby, but did not make that statement until after an autopsy determined the cause of death, saying she shot the horse because it was unruly and kicked at her.

Gradia, a special education teacher in Milton, Fla., has been arrested and charged with insurance fraud, arson and misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Gradia remains free on a $50,000 bond.

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