RIVERTON — Authorities ruled Tuesday that the manner of Trevor Bartlett’s death was homicide.
Bartlett’s friend Mario Mills, who had been drinking with him and confessed to shooting him, is facing a first-degree murder charge.
Mills’ wife, Courtnie, was charged initially with accessory after the fact, that charged has been dropped.
The autopsy verdict by Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen said 37-year-old Bartlett had a blood-alcohol content of .314 when he died of a gunshot wound to the head, at about 1 a.m. Thursday, March 26.
Bartlett died in what originally was reported by Courtnie and Mario Mills as a suicide, in their family garage on East Sunset Drive in Riverton.
Charged in March with accessory after the fact and interference for helping husband Mario rearrange the scene and for disposing of their clothing afterward, Courtnie Mills no longer is charged.
Her husband told police that he woke his wife right after shooting Bartlett, and told her what happened.
A registered nurse, Courtnie Mills checked Bartlett’s pulse and found that he was dead.
Mario Mills put the gun in Bartlett’s hand to “make it look like he had shot himself,” he told RPD agents.
The pair went upstairs, put their clothes in a bag, and hid them under the bed. They would later put them in a dumpster at Courtnie’s place of work.
Recent court documents show the both charges against Courtnie were dismissed by the prosecution May 12.
The dismissal is “without prejudice” which means the state could bring charges again if its prosecutors choose.
Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun did not comment on why charges against Courtnie Mills were dropped.
In Wyoming, accessory after the fact to murder is charged as a misdemeanor, not a felony, if the defendant is a close relative or spouse of the accused.
Mario Mills, 37, at first told the Riverton Police Department he had left his friend drinking alone in the garage the night before, and that Bartlett was in a “dark place” and had been talking about suicide.
In a later interview, Mills said it was he who had shot his friend, after a drunken argument about whether Bartlett should shoot himself. The pair were playing cribbage and drinking, along with Courtnie Mills, the night of March 25.
Courtnie went to bed at about 10:30, leaving the two men in the garage. According to Mills, Bartlett then said he wanted to die, and that he had made a list of people he was going to kill before he died.
“Bartlett told Mills (Mills) should shoot him because he was sick of life,” reads an affidavit by RPD Detective Jim Donahue.
Mills grabbed his .45 Glock and loaded it, according to the interview.
Bartlett again challenged his friend to kill him. Mills refused, unloading the gun. After several more challenges by Bartlett, Mills loaded the gun and fired a single gunshot to the left temple of Bartlett’s head, killing him, court documents state.
“I killed Trevor!” yelled Mills in the RPD interview. “I killed my best friend… I wish I would have got Trevor’s request for me to kill him in writing.”
Mario Mills remains in custody on a $1 million cash-only bond.
He is represented by defense attorney Don Fuller, has waived his preliminary hearing and has been transferred to Fremont County District Court for felony-level prosecution.
As of Tuesday, Mills’s arraignment had not been set and he had not pleaded to the charge of first-degree murder, which is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.