NEWS BRIEFS for Friday, Dec. 27, 2019

From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

Rammell livestock case assigned to new court

PINEDALE (WNE) — In response to the Sublette County Attorney’s Office recent motion to reverse and vacate a magistrate’s order to suppress its evidence, the Pinedale judge has assigned the entire case to another court. 

On Monday, Dec. 23, Judge Curt Haws responded to the motion and said he reviewed Magistrate Clay Kainer’s order that tossed a deputy’s report of a June 27 stop and check of an out-of-county livestock trailer. 

Owner and driver Rex F. Rammell was charged with five misdemeanors and pleaded not guilty in Circuit Court. His trial was set for Jan. 14 but Judge Haws’ latest order cancels out the trial. 

Of Kainer’s order to suppress the deputy’s report of the livestock check, the judge “finds the magistrate’s reasoning and decision to be sound and appropriate. … The state failed in its burden to establish that law enforcement’s contact with Mr. Rammell complied with constitutional requirements.” 

As for Kainer’s appointment as magistrate, county commissioners did not properly vote on it as required by law until their Dec. 17 meeting. However, Judge Haws’ order notes that the prosecution did not raise the issue until Magistrate Kainer ruled against its evidence. 

“The Court finds that at all relevant times (he) and Magistrate Kainer acted in a good faith belief that the magistrate’s appointment was properly conducted,” says Judge Haws’ order

Judge Haws had recused himself at the beginning of Rammell’s case and transferred it to Kainer; now his Dec. 23 order assigns the prosecution’s motion to reverse and vacate Kainer’s ruling to Circuit Court Judge Robert Castor in Albany County.


Man charged in April fatal crash

CHEYENNE – A Cheyenne man has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide in connection with a crash that killed three people in April on Wyoming Highway 210.

Jason Hanson, 20, of Cheyenne was charged with three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and one count of attempted aggravated vehicular homicide. He was arrested Monday by Wyoming Highway Patrol on warrants for the charges.

The crash happened sometime before 8:49 p.m. at milepost 7 on Wyoming Highway 210, also known as Happy Jack Road, between a 2002 Ford Mustang and two Harley Davidson motorcycles on April 19, according to previous reporting.

The driver of the Ford, Hanson, was allegedly in the westbound lane of WY 210 when he crossed over into the eastbound lanes of the highway. The Ford struck a 2017 Harley traveling eastbound that was being driven by 47-year-old Jerry L. Hoover of Cheyenne. After the car struck Hoover’s motorcycle, a 2012 Harley Davidson traveling eastbound struck the back of the 2017 Harley, according to previous reporting.

Hoover and his passenger, Jana M. Garton, 50, of Cheyenne both died at the scene of the crash. The driver of the 2012 Harley, Andrew J. Hrasky, 34, was transported to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center for injuries suffered in the crash and then airlifted to Colorado for additional care, according to previous reporting.

None of the three motorcyclists were wearing helmets.

The passenger in the Ford, Seth J. O’Dell, 20, of Cheyenne also died at the scene of the crash.


Two face federal charges in mail theft

GILLETTE (WNE) — Local charges have been dropped against two Campbell County residents in connection with stolen mail and credit cards because they have been charged federally for the crimes.

Ted M. Mathill, 45, and Donae Larae Chavez, 37, were charged in July in District Court in Gillette after they were linked to the theft of driver’s licenses and credit cards, with Mathill acting as what an investigator called “the ringleader” in a series of mail thefts, according to court documents.

The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office began getting a series of complaints in April about checks and driver’s licenses stolen from the mail and used fraudulently.

In one case, two checks were cashed for a total of $484.50 written to two people that the woman didn’t know. But those two people told investigators that they were waiting for their new driver’s licenses to arrive in the mail. One said that while the Wyoming Department of Transportation had said it was mailed earlier in the month, he hadn’t received it.

Video surveillance showed that their driver’s licenses were used to cash the checks, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

One of the vehicles was later matched to one that Mathill was driving.

In announcing the arrest of Chavez, Campbell County Sheriff Scott Matheny estimated there were more than 100 victims in the mail theft case. Some of the theft of mail happened at several locations along Highway 50, West 4J Road, Oriva Hills, McKenzie Road, Echeta Road, Outer Limits and Interstate Industrial Area.