North Texas County DA to seek death penalty for Tanner Horner, man accused of killing Athena Strand

Athena Strand and Tanner Horner.
Athena Strand and Tanner Horner.(KWTX)
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 9:25 AM CST
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WISE COUNTY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM)  Wise County District Attorney James Stainton has given notice that he intends to seek the death penalty for Tanner Horner, the man accused of killing seven-year-old Athena Strand late last year.

Horner was indicted on Feb. 16 for aggravated kidnapping and capital murder of a person under the age of 10. Stainton filed his notice of intent the next day.

The 31-year-old FedEx driver confessed to snatching Strand from her driveway and later killing her within an hour of her abduction on Nov. 30.

Tanner Horner was arrested and charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping in the death of seven-year-old Athena Strand.WISE COUNTY JAIL

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said shortly before Strand’s stepmother realized she was missing, Horner had dropped off a package containing a Christmas gift at their home in Paradise, Texas. He was subsequently tracked down through digital evidence.

Two days later, Strand’s body was found about nine miles away from her home.

Strand’s mother, Maitlyn Gandy, released the following statement following Horner’s indictment:

“I would like to thank the Wise County grand jury for their role in this process. Hearing the facts and circumstances of my 7-year-old daughter’s kidnapping and murder was undoubtedly very difficult for them. I want them to know that their work is deeply appreciated.

Tanner Horner’s indictment is the beginning of a long road through the justice system. I appreciate everyone’s continued support and for keeping Athena’s name and memory alive. Please take a moment to hug your children and loved ones. No one is promised another day.”

The estimated timeline for a capital murder case to see trial is 18 months to two years.

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