A 53-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday to mail fraud in connection with the slaughter of eight horses that were driven off a cliff in Jacumba in order to collect insurance on them.

Raymond Paul of Keyes in Stanislaus County was indicted by a federal grand jury a year ago along with five others. He entered his plea before U.S. District Judge J. Lawrence Irving. Assistant U.S. Atty. Bill Hayes said Paul faces a maximum five-year sentence in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Paul was described as the owner of the eight horses, which were killed May 16, 1983. The driver of the truck that was pulling the trailer that the horses were in and a horse trader from Texas have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Irving set sentencing for June 5, which is the same date that driver Leonard Autterson, 49, of Lakeside, and Bobby Griffin, 47, a horse trader from Lufkin, Tex., will be sentenced. They pleaded guilty March 31, 1988, to conspiracy to defraud Hartford Fire Insurance Co.


According to the indictment, the horses were insured for $81,000. Some of the horses were old and over-insured, and reportedly had no racing or breeding value.

An April 25 trial is set for two other defendants in the case, Rocky Beene, 48, of Junction, Tex., and his son, Brent Beene, 25, of Vandervordt, Ark.

All of the defendants are free on bail.