From Wyoming News Exchange Newspapers 

Wyoming News Briefs


June 6, 2019

Casper man arrested after standoff

CASPER (WNE) — A Natrona County special response team responded to a domestic assault call northwest of Casper on Sunday, arresting a 51-year-old man after a two-and-a-half-hour standoff.

The Natrona County Sheriff’s Office released details of the incident Monday morning. Spokesman Taylor Courtney told media that when sheriff’s deputies responded to the call at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, they knew the male suspect was inside the home but was not answering the door.

The man had a “criminal history” that included “violent crimes,” Courtney said, so the deputies called in the special response team — effectively the county’s SWAT unit. After two and a half hours, they arrested William Martin after he exited the home and surrendered. Officers did not make a forced entry into the residence. 

Courtney said no weapons were found, and investigators don’t believe controlled substances played a role in the incident. The alleged victim is listed as a family relation to Martin. 

Courtney declined to discuss if there had been active negotiations with Martin that led him to surrender. The alleged victim was hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening, Courtney said, and she is in stable condition. 

Courtney said law enforcement officers are recommending a charge of domestic battery but stressed that the District Attorney’s Office will ultimately decide.

Burning car leads to DUI arrest

RIVERTON (WNE) — A 33-year-old Riverton woman was arrested for driving under the influence, reportedly after she exited and walked away from a burning vehicle.

Toniette Munguia was arrested last week by the Riverton Police Department. 

Bystanders called in the fire near the 500 block of S. Sixth E. in Riverton at 6:42 a.m. Wednesday. 

RPD and Riverton Volunteer Fire Department responders both arrived at the scene, where witnesses described the woman who had been driving the white 2000 Chevrolet passenger car before it ignited. 

RPD Capt. Todd Byerly said the descriptions enabled police to apprehend the woman, who was intoxicated, and arrest her for driving under the influence. 

When questioned, Munguia said that she was driving when she began to smell gasoline and see sparks on her car, so she left the car and walked away. 

“She stopped her car in the middle of the street,” said Byerly, who later relayed that she said “she left because she had other things to do.” 

Game and Fish to study free licenses for disabled

CODY (WNE) — Under a proposed change in Game and Fish rules, resident disabled outdoorsmen and women would be eligible to obtain a free lifetime fishing license and free conservation stamp.

The idea is under consideration as part of a group of proposed regulation alterations and hunting season quota settings being discussed at department hearings around Wyoming.

“It hadn’t been available to them before,” said Cody regional supervisor Dan Smith of the disabled benefit.

The proposal, along with a package of other possible regulation changes, will go before the Game and Fish Commission at its July 18-19 meeting in Green River.

Under this plan, eligibility would be defined as a resident who is “permanently and totally disabled and is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity.” The determination would be made by the U.S. Social Security Administration based on Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

The license and stamp would be good as long as the individual remains a Wyoming resident.

Man pleads guilty to robbing evacuated homes

LARAMIE (WNE) — A Colorado man pleaded guilty Friday to exploiting the Badger Creek Fire to burglarize evacuated homes in the area of Woods Landing and Jelm Mountain.

Jayce Peterson, 35, pleaded guilty to burglary, “accessory before the fact — burglary,” and theft.

Peterson took an “open plea,” meaning there’s no agreement between his attorney and prosecutors on what his sentence will be.

Albany County District Court Judge Tori Kricken will have free rein on deciding whether Peterson will receive prison time.

The defendant was released on bond in October, and on Friday, Kricken urged him to continue staying compliant with the terms of his bond pending sentencing.

“Keep in mind that how you’re doing now will be a pretty good indication of how you’d do on something like probation,” Kricken said.

Peterson was originally charged with aggravated burglary, which would have carried a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment for a conviction. However, prosecutors agreed to drop that charge as part of Peterson’s plea deal.

Subdivisions at Woods Landing and Jelm Mountain were evacuated between June 11-18 amid the forest fire.

When one resident returned to his house on June 17, he reported a firearm had been stolen.

Another homeowner and business reported burglaries, as well. In total, it was determined that U.S. currency, several firearms, jewelry, personal items and an ATV were stolen from evacuated property.

Peterson admitted his involvement in the burglaries, according to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.

He also identified the location of the stolen ATV, which was later recovered and returned to the rightful owners.

Search still on for Gillette woman in international meth ring

GILLETTE (WNE) — Authorities are still searching for Billie Jo Reynolds, a Gillette woman who is wanted for her alleged involvement in a Mexican drug cartel’s international conspiracy to distribute meth.

Reynolds, also known as Billie Jo Adams, has been wanted by local law enforcement since June 2018 for a probation revocation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Southern California said in a press release that by the end of the day May 21, police had arrested 33 of the 43 people charged in the case and seized roughly 80 pounds of meth, four guns and more than $100,000 cash.

Reynolds, 40, is one of the ten suspects who were still at large. The statement did not specify what Reynolds’ involvement was, only that she was a fugitive.

This is not the first time Reynolds has been involved in meth distribution.

In 2003, Reynolds pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute about 3 pounds of meth. Two years later, she pleaded guilty to distributing 1.3-2.6 kilograms of meth and received a 120-month federal prison sentence. She was part of a drug ring that distributed 91 pounds of meth in Campbell County, worth between $4 million and $5.8 million, according to court documents.

Judge rules commissioners can dissolve fair board

CHEYENNE (WNE) — District Judge Thomas Campbell on Friday issued a ruling that Laramie County commissioners were within their authority to dissolve the Laramie County Fair Board.

The County Commission in November voted to dismiss the independent volunteer board, arguing a new events department run by professionals could better oversee the Archer Complex, its new events center and other county recreation.

The events department is responsible for the Laramie County Fair, Archer recreational facilities, Clear Creek Park, the Greater Cheyenne Greenway and special events.

But board members disagreed with commissioners and took their arguments to Laramie County District Court.

According to previous Wyoming Tribune Eagle reporting, the board’s argument cited state law saying county commissioners could create a board of trustees to “control, manage and maintain the (county) fairgrounds,” but offered no provision for dissolving it.

In the ruling, Campbell states, “The county commissioners possess the implied power to dissolve a board that they were granted the power to create.”

“The ruling gives us a path forward in regard to the events center and the fair,” Laramie County Commission Chair Linda Heath said.

Commissioners named Dan Ange as the events director in March. Prior to his appointment in Laramie County, he served as events director for the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

In addition, Campbell dismissed the board’s claim that commissioners could not redirect funds previously appropriated to the board. The judge cited statute that “commissioners have the right and responsibility to direct the funds to any authority designated by them so long as they are expended on fair operations.”

Marine nears end of run from Cheyenne to Rawlins

RAWLINS (WNE) — One hundred sixty one miles through rain, sleet, snow, across mountain, valley and rolling hills. 

U.S. Marine Pamela Torres’ endurance test to honor the 161 female soldiers killed in the line of duty since 9/11 will finally end on Tuesday when she marches into the parking lot of Rawlins High School. 

Torres originally decided on the charity and run as she knew several of the 161 fallen female combatants, making the cause personal. 

After nearly a year of training, Torres began her run from Cheyenne, a city where much of her family resides, to Rawlins, the city she considers her hometown, on May 26. 

In an interview on last week, Torres said of her run so far, “It’s good, the elevation has been a bit of a challenge, along with the weather.” 

Despite the poor weather during her trek, and the massive change in elevation from her current station in Virginia, Torres has enjoyed her time running through the wide-open spaces of the West. 

Torres’s trek will conclude on Tuesday, with stops in both Sinclair and in Rawlins, with a law enforcement escort from Fort Steele serving as the vanguard of her arrival. 

After feast and fellowship with the people of Sinclair, Torres will begin the final sprint to the finish line in Rawlins. Torres said that the trip will take roughly an hour and a half to two hours, depending on how much energy she has for the last push. 

Road work will cause delays in Grand Teton

JACKSON (WNE) — Heading to Grand Teton National Park this summer? Bring a book

A “pavement preservation project” is underway on Highway 26/89/191, with work scheduled to carry into September and cause delays throughout the park. Construction is generally beginning at the park’s southern boundary, according to a news release, and moving north to Yellowstone National Park’s South Gate over the next few months.

“When proactive preventative maintenance activities are completed on park roads,” the news release states, “more serious and costly damage to the pavement structure will be averted.”

That proactive maintenance could trigger waits of up to 15 minutes during the day. Overnight, from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., delays could be as long as 30 minutes. Work will run seven days a week, except during July 3-7 over the Independence Day holiday.

The project is “funded and managed in partnership with the Federal Lands Highway Program,” according to the news release. The contract went to Intermountain Slurry Seal, a roadwork company based in Salt Lake City.

Another upcoming area of construction is the Jenny Lake parking lot, which crews will be paving in phases between now and July 4. Some daytime parking will be available, but there will be no overnight parking from Saturday through June 15.

Crews also will be patching holes and cracks and apply a chip seal along Highway 26/89/191 and other park pavement, from Gros Ventre Road to the Colter Bay Visitor Center. 

Man facing new child porn charges

CHEYENNE (WNE) — A man who pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography last year as part of a plea deal faces new charges of continuing to acquire illegal images of minors being sexually exploited.

Robert Logan was in Laramie County District Court on Thursday for a hearing on the revocation of his probation, and to change his not guilty plea on the new charges of possessing child pornography. But the hearing on both cases was postponed because the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wyoming intends to press charges against Logan.

Because federal court would have the ability to impose a more severe sentence on Logan if he was found guilty, Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove said she intended to allow them to take over the case.

Logan had pleaded guilty in August to two felonies related to child pornography – one for receiving multiple computer files and the other related to possession. As part of the plea deal with the District Attorney’s office in that case, eight other charges were dropped and a sentence of 10-14 years was to be suspended for ten years of probation.

The total maximum sentence Logan could have received for the ten charges was more than 100 years.

After avoiding prison in that case, Logan was arrested again in December for possession of child pornography.

On Dec. 28, Logan’s wife called the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office to report Logan was viewing child pornography. 

According to the court documents, Logan admitted to looking at child pornography on his smartphone.


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