From Wyoming News Exchange Newspapers 

Wyoming News Briefs


March 7, 2019

Student pleads not guilty to attempted murder charges

GILLETTE (WNE) — Dale Warner’s voice grew fainter Friday afternoon as the eighth-grader pleaded not guilty to nine counts of attempted first-degree murder in Gillette.

The 14-year-old boy is accused of bringing two guns and 36 bullets to Sage Valley Junior High School with a plan to shoot nine teachers and students identified as people he wanted to target or who were in the classroom where he intended to shoot them Nov. 13.

He was later disarmed by the school principal and arrested by the Gillette Police Department.

Charged as an adult, Warner repeated “not guilty” nine times in his arraignment as District Court Judge Michael N. “Nick” Deegan asked him to plead to each of the nine counts.

Warner wore a lime-green Juvenile Detention Center outfit and was handcuffed throughout the proceeding, including when Deegan asked Warner to raise his right hand as high as he could to take his oath.

Warner smiled at his parents and family sitting in the front row of the courtroom as he was led into it by bailiffs at about 4:15 p.m. Friday.

It took just 15 minutes for Deegan to explain the charges, make sure Warner understood the charges and to ask for his pleas. Deegan said Jefferson Coombs of the Gillette Public Defender’s Office and Diane M. Lozano, the state public defender representing Warner, and Campbell County Attorney Ron Wirthwein and Deputy County Attorney Nathan Henkes will meet with him later in a pre-trial conference. They’ll schedule his trial at that time.

Deegan also continued Warner’s cash-only bond of $275,000.

Man arrested after plow hits mystery case pleads not guilty

RAWLINS (WNE) – Facing a multitude of drug charges, which includes possession of marijuana, ecstasy and hallucinogenic mushrooms, with intent to deliver, an Ohio man pleaded not guilty on Monday in Carbon County District Court.

Cory Aldo Baxter, 36, along with two other suspects, who face similar charges, was caught by authorities on Jan. 31 through a fortuitous string of events.

According to court records, a Wyoming Department of Transportation plow driver was working on U.S. Interstate 80 eastbound near mile marker 252 when he reportedly stuck a black case. Upon closer inspection, the plow driver observed money literally blowing in the air.

It was later discovered by authorities that the contents of the case turned out to be $53,844.

The same day the money was discovered, a WYDOT supervisor was contacted by Baxter and his fellow travelers, who inquired about the missing case.

At this point, Baxter was instructed to retrieve the case at the WYDOT facility in Elk Mountain. There, the suspects encountered troopers with the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

During questioning about the validity of the currency, authorities noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from their vehicle. This warranted a subsequent search, according to court records.

Items seized during the search included six large duffle bags containing 81 plastic bags of suspected marijuana, one large duffle bag containing approximately 259 vials of liquid THC, along with additional vials of THC, two baggies with suspected psilocybin mushrooms, and one vitamin jar with capsules of a light brown substance, including an additional baggie with the same substance, which proved to be MDMA or “Ecstasy.”

Ordinance would make mouthwash, sanitizer ‘illegal intoxicants’

RIVERTON (WNE) — Mouthwash and hand sanitizer will be illegal intoxicants in Riverton if a new ordinance proposal becomes law.

The Riverton City Council approved the idea on first reading during a regular meeting Feb. 19. 

Council members will have to approve of the measure two more times before it is incorporated into the Riverton Municipal Code.

The ordinance includes mouthwash, hand sanitizer, extracts and “other similar substances” as items considered unlawful to use as intoxicants in the city of Riverton. 

Other items noted include paint thinner, gasoline, nail polish remover, glue, spray paint, deodorant, hair products, cooking products, fabric protectors, butane and “any toxic substance that is not manufactured for human consumption or inhalation.”

In a memo to the council, city administrator Tony Tolstedt said Wyoming State Statute was used as a “basis” for the ordinance proposal, but the phrase specifying mouthwash and hand sanitizer was added locally. 

He said the ordinance would “start closing some of those loopholes that aid in the public intoxication problem we’ve been combating.” 

It already is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in a public place, but there are no rules barring open containers of mouthwash or hand sanitizer that are being used as intoxicants.

Violation of the rule would be punishable by up to six months in prison, a $750 fine, or both. 

The ordinance proposal came from the city’s Solutions Committee, which was formed to combat issues of substance abuse and public intoxication locally. 

Campbell County man threatens police with sword

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 58-year-old Campbell County man brandishing a sword was arrested on suspicion of three felony charges Tuesday night.

Deputies were called to a home on the 100 block of Peaceful Valley Drive for a possible suicidal subject, said Campbell County Sheriff Scott Matheny. When deputies arrived, the man, Jay Loveday, came out of the house carrying a large sword.

He walked toward the deputies, waving the sword around in “a threatening manner,” Matheny said. The deputies stood behind their patrol car and told Loveday to stop. He refused, and when he got within 15 feet of the deputies, one of them used a Taser on him.

Loveday was arrested and taken to jail. He was charged with two counts of felony interference with a peace officer, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and domestic assault.

He had been drinking that night and got into an argument with people at the home, Matheny said. He allegedly slapped a 20-year-old woman in the face and he also hit walls and objects. Then he reportedly grabbed the sword and hit items with the sword. That was when law enforcement officials were called.

Ten Sleep schools under federal investigation

WORLAND (WNE) — Complaints for an alleged disability FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) violation and an alleged retaliation violation with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights against Ten Sleep School prompted a federal investigation. 

Ten Sleep School Superintendent Jimmy Phelps stated Thursday that the school has no comment at this time due to privacy regulations and couldn’t state if the two investigations were related or not. 

“It involves students and that’s all I can say. We are answering the questions that are being asked of us and we have involved our attorney, where he needs to be involved to help us answer those questions. There are things that I can’t even tell board members at this time because when you get into a student issue, there are a lot of privacy things we just can’t say,” Phelps said.

According to a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education, “The Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) can confirm that it currently has one investigation open at the Washakie County School District #2. OCR is investigating the district for disability discrimination and/or retaliation. This investigation was opened on Jan. 18, 2019. Because this is an on-going investigation, OCR cannot provide additional information or confirm case-specific details.”

Yellowstone roads close for spring plowing

CODY (WNE) — Roads in Yellowstone National Park will begin to close to oversnow travel on Friday. 

Spring plowing will start as road segments close. All oversnow travel will end for the season March 15 at 9 p.m. Weather permitting, some park roads will reopen to automobile travel April 19 at 8 a.m. 

Road closure dates (gates close at 9 p.m.):

Friday, East Entrance to Lake Butte Overlook (Sylvan Pass)

Sunday, Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris

Tuesday, Norris to Madison, Norris to Canyon Village

March 15, all remaining groomed roads

At Mammoth Hot Springs, the gift shop, ski shop, and food services close Sunday. The Mammoth Hot Springs campground, Yellowstone General Store, post office, medical clinic, the Albright Visitor Center, and self-serve fuel pumps remain open all year.

At Old Faithful, Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins close Sunday. The Bear Den Gift Shop, the Geyser Grill, and the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center will close March 15.

At Tower Junction, self-serve fuel pumps are available all year.

The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont., through Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, is open to automobiles all year. 

Visitors driving to and in the park during the spring should have flexible travel plans and be prepared for changing weather conditions. Temporary travel restrictions or closures can occur at any time. For the most current information on road conditions and closures, call (307) 344-2117 for recorded information. 

Thermopolis police arrest heavily armed, armored man

THERMOPOLIS (WNE) — Police Chief Julie Mathews arrested 43-year-old Jason Little from Meeteetse following a brief chase in town on Feb. 24.

Mathews received information that Little was driving a 2003 Ford extended cab pickup, and he was suicidal, heavily armed, wearing body armor and possibly going after an ex-girlfriend. She noted dispatch heard Wyoming Highway Patrol was looking for him, and he was involved in a felony property damage incident in Park County the previous night, in which he allegedly shot up a vehicle and finished it off with a backhoe.

Officer Bobbi Zupan was among the officers also notified Little could be in the area, and later found out he had stopped at a residence and said some bad things were about to happen.

Zupan was westbound in the 900 block of Broadway when she saw the truck with its flashers on, eastbound and speeding. Matthews and Zupan stopped the vehicle.

Mathews and Zupan exited their patrol vehicles with weapons drawn. Little jumped out of the vehicle wearing the bulletproof vest and Mathews commanded him to put his hands up, turn around facing away, back up to her and get on his knees.

Officers found a significant amount of firearms — as well as ammunition and loaded clips — in the truck, including an M1, a .233, a .45 Kimber and a Mossberg shotgun.

According to a report, Little advised repeatedly that he had nothing to live for and his life was over. He further advised he wanted officers to shoot him, he had been heading to a residence to get his girlfriend and would do whatever it took to take her out of the house.

Casper man honest, but still busted

DOUGLAS (WNE) —A Casper man was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver after being honest with a Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper who stopped him for speeding.

Jevon Bynum, 49, was traveling northbound on I-25 between Orin and Douglas when a WHP trooper recorded his speed at 84 mph. The trooper followed the vehicle and noticed that the driver was not staying in the lane. The trooper also noticed that the interior dome light was on and the front passenger was rummaging around near the floor, according to the affidavit. 

After the vehicle was stopped, the trooper noticed that the driver and passengers appeared nervous but stated that they were coming back from Colorado. 

Bynum stated that he had the dome light on in order to take his medication, according to the affidavit. 

Bynum was led to the trooper’s vehicle where he was checked for weapons. The trooper then asked about the bulges in his front pants pockets, according to the affidavit. Bynum pulled out a wallet which contained a large wad of cash and stated that he had just had his taxes done. When asked about the contents of the other pocket, Bynum replied that “it’s meth.” When asked how much, “I don’t know, a lot” was his reply, according to the affidavit. 

A search of the vehicle was conducted where two white dispensary bags with suspected marijuana were located in the center console, according to the affidavit.

Bynum has been bound over to stand trial in the Eighth Judicial District Court.


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