Downey pleads not guilty to home invasion, assault

Hawk Springs homeowner fought alleged attacker off with a garden hoe

TORRINGTON – Mack Downey, of Hawk Springs, pleaded not guilty Monday to a slew of felony charges that could net him up to 45 years in the Wyoming prison system.
Downey is charged with felony counts of aggravated burglary, aggravated battery and unlawful entry into an unoccupied structure after allegedly entering a home in Hawk Springs last fall and attacking the occupants before he fled after being attacked with a garden hoe.
During his arraignment hearing before Judge Patrick Korell in the Eight Judicial District Court, Downey’s attorney, David MacDonald, argued for a reduced bond for his client. Downey’s original bond was set at $1.3 million, but MacDonald argued for a personal recognizance bond.
“Mr. Downey has lived in Hawk Springs for 25 years,” MacDonald said. “He’s also on disability. I don’t know that he could come up with anything. He’s requesting to be released so he could live in his home in Hawk Springs.”
Deputy Goshen County Attorney Jeremiah Sandburg argued against the bond modification, as Downey’s case was delayed in Goshen County because he was on parole for a previous violent crime in Colorado when the incident occurred.
“They revoked him,” Sandburg said. “In addition, the victims live in the Hawk Springs area. Their property is remote and they are concerned with him coming back to the location. I would note these are very serious crimes and a PR bond would never be appropriate.”
Korell did agree to reduce Downey’s bond – to $100,000 cash or surety.
“The court is going to find this is a crime of violence, and he does pose a risk to the occupants of Goshen County,” Korell said.
Downey is being held at the Goshen County Detention Center.
Downey’s issues started in October 2019. According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause filed by Goshen County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Wes Deen, deputies responded to a call of a home invasion.
“Deputies were advised the reporting party and his wife had fought off the person who had broken into their home,” Deen wrote. “They were also advised the home invader had been hit in the head with a hammer in an attempt to defend themselves from the attack.”
One of the victims was able to get a license plate number from the suspect’s truck as it was leaving the scene, which led police to believe the suspect was Downey.
According to the female victim, she and her husband were sleeping in bed when they heard a loud noise. Her husband went to investigate.
“She heard yelling and went down to see what was going on,” the affidavit said. “She observed her husband and a man fighting and called 911. She also observed the intruder had a garden hoe she kept out her doorway for when she went on walks. During the struggle, the intruder dropped the garden hoe and (the wife) picked it up. At this time, she also noticed her husband was bleeding profusely from the back of the head.”
The female victim grabbed the hoe and tried to push the attacker with it.
“Her husband grabbed an antique hammer … and hit the intruder several times.”
During the scuffle, the wife asked the attacker’s name, and he replied “Mack Downey,” according to the affidavit.
The husband told the police that when he confronted Downey, Downey said “This is my house now.”
“The intruder hit him with the garden hoe and (the male victim) stated that it hurt and at this time he realized the intruder was going to kill him. He fought with the intruder and stated that the intruder had the upper hand for a few minutes, he then remembered he had an antique hammer and was able to reach it, but tried gouging the intruder’s eyes out first.”
The victims were able to identify Downey in a photo lineup, and deputy’s set out for Downey’s address to make contact. Deen wrote that he found the pickup matching the license plate from the scene, and when he made contact, Downey “had a large amount of dried blood on his head and it was still bleeding.”
“I also observed blood stains on his blue pants,” Deen wrote. “I placed Mr. Mack Downey in handcuffs at this time … and told him he was under arrest.”
Downey admitted he had broken into the couple’s home.
“I asked why he went to that house,” Deen wrote. “Mr. Downey stated that the voices in his head told him his daughter and son were there being murdered.”
Deen wrote the evidence at hand suggested Downey had likely intended to murder his victim.
“After reviewing the photographs and statements from the deputies that were on scene after the home invasion, I believe Mr. Downey intended to kill (the male victim) with the weapon.”