NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Man charged in teen’s traffic death

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 37-year-old Gillette man has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of a 14-year-old boy whom he had taken on a “joy ride” involving hopping corners when he flipped his pickup.

Matthew James Coleman’s blood alcohol content was 0.15% after the crash Saturday night, about twice the legal limit.

Coleman remains in Campbell County jail after Circuit Judge Wendy M. Bartlett set his bond Monday at $100,000 cash only.

Coleman told police officers after the 9 p.m. crash that he’d taken two of his children and three of their friends “corner hopping.” He described that as accelerating to a point he would fishtail the rear end of his truck around corners, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

He was driving on Burma Avenue when he turned west onto Metz Drive and tried to fishtail the truck as he made the turn. The truck fishtailed and he overcorrected, going off the road and rolling the vehicle, according to the affidavit.

When officers arrived, they found the 2011 Dodge Ram truck laying at its hood and Daniel Ahlers partially ejected from the truck. The teen was killed instantly, according to Campbell County Coroner Paul Wallem. The affidavit said he was riding in the middle back seat.

Coleman has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide either by driving while under the influence or driving recklessly. It carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.


Three killed in two separate accidents near Douglas

DOUGLAS (WNE) — Two separate vehicle accidents, one on WYO 59 and another on Irvine Road, have claimed the lives of three Douglas residents during the last week. 

On June 2, Paul Borring, 27, and Teala Sherard, 27, along with Sherard’s two minor children, were traveling on WYO 59 south of Wright when their 2002 GMC Yukon exited the right side of the road and collided with a delineator post. Borring, who was driving, corrected the SUV back onto the road before over-correcting back to the right. The SUV left the road and overturned, throwing both adults out of the vehicle. Neither were wearing their seatbelts, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol. 

The two children were in seatbelts in the back seat and were not thrown from the vehicle but did sustain injuries. They were transported to Campbell County Memorial Hospital. 

Alcohol or drug use is being investigated as possible contributing factors to the accident, according the Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeremy Beck. 

Another crash late Friday afternoon claimed the life of Douglas native William Stock, 33. 

According to Converse County Sheriff Clint Becker, deputies were called to a one-vehicle rollover near mile post seven on Irvine Road at about 4 p.m. Stock was pronounced dead at the scene, he said, and there were no other passengers. 

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.


Repeat antler offense results in jail time

JACKSON (WNE) — It was in broad daylight an entire month before the legal antler-gathering season started when Jackson Game Warden Kyle Lash learned about a man who was wandering around the agency’s South Park Wildlife Habitat Management Area.

The man, Jackson Hole resident Jeramey Hutchison, was infringing on closed wildlife winter range but said he was just taking pictures and was ignorant of the rules. Lash told him he could prove if he was lying, and the story shifted.

“I told him I had cameras,” the warden said. “Then he came clean.”

Lash learned Hutchison was also caught in 2017 out on the wildlife winter range near the Elk Refuge’s boundary with the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and he was also jumping the gun by being out on the landscape at a time when it’s closed to human presence. 

Seeing that the poaching had persisted, Lash recommended an even stiffer sentence to Teton County deputy attorney Zane Aukee and asked for penalties that included several days of jail time.

But when Hutchison appeared in Teton County Circuit Court and waived the right to an attorney on May 28, Judge James Radda decided the warden and prosecuting attorney’s requested sentence wasn’t enough.

“The judge felt that, with his prior conviction, he probably didn’t learn from the previous mistake,” Lash said. “So the judge made that call: the 20 days in jail.”


Man sentenced to prison in hammer attack on father

RIVERTON (WNE) — Garrett Powell of Riverton has been sentenced to between 20 years and life in prison for trying to kill his father with a hammer last April.

He pleaded guilty in March of this year to attempted second-degree murder.

"He went into his father's bedroom and beat him in the head with a hammer, clearly trying to kill him," said Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun during the sentencing.

"Mr. Powell has indicated over the last couple years he is quite dangerous. Not just necessarily to his father, either."

Powell, 30, has been convicted of stalking various victims. He was also released from jail early in 2019, after the court deemed him "not guilty by reason of mental illness" for a crime similar to the one for which he was just sentenced: aggravated assault, incurred also by hitting his father on the head with a hammer.

The first hammer incident occurred in late summer of 2018. The second, for which he was convicted, occurred outside of Lander overnight April 16-17, 2019.

The prosecutor noted that this time, the mental illness plea didn't work out because "he clearly was under the influence of methamphetamine, at least to some degree, which impacted the findings of the (Wyoming) State Hospital with regard to mental illness."

Powell had pleaded "not guilty by reason of mental illness" when charged last spring, but later changed his plea to "not guilty," and most recently, to “guilty."


Former Torrington officer pleads not guilty to sex crimes

TORRINGTON (WNE) — Former Torrington Police Department officer Anthony John Scoleri has pleaded not guilty to a litany of felonious sex crimes, and is set to stand trial in November. 

Filings in the Eighth Judicial District show that Scoleri is charged with five sex-related felonies, including three counts of sexual abuse of a minor, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison, and sexual assault, which also carries a maximum penalty of 50 years. 

Scoleri’s victim alleged that he assaulted her in February in a garage, but the case was sealed until it was bound over to the Eighth Judicial District Court this month. According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause filed by Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Luke Rippy, the victim reported the assault a week after it occurred. 

“Anthony Scoleri forced the victim to perform oral sex on him and then held the victim down and performed oral sex on her,” the affidavit said. “He forced her to have sex with him.” 

TPD officers and DCI agents executed a search warrant for items related to the case.

“During the search, agents seized items believed to be related to this investigation, including the clothing the victim said was wearing the night (of the assault),” the affidavit said. 

A DNA test found Scoleri’s DNA on a piece of clothing the victim said she wore the night of the assault.


Man arrested after shutting off power to hospital equipment

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — Following an incident at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County on Sunday, a Cheyenne man was arrested for alleged terroristic threats and other charges.

At approximately 1:15 a.m. on Sunday, June 7, the Rock Springs Police Department responded to a report of a suspicious incident at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.

When officers arrived, they determined that Antonio Landeroz, 19, of Cheyenne had gained access to the hospital’s maintenance building and turned off the power to numerous pieces of equipment in the hospital, according to a press release. At the time of the incident there were no patients in the area affected by the power outage.

After further investigation, Antonio Landeroz was arrested for alleged terroristic threats, criminal entry, interference with a police officer and reckless endangering.

This case remains under investigation.