Wyoming News in Brief, Jan. 3, 2019


From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

Ghaifan pleads no contest to harassment

CHEYENNE — University of Wyoming junior defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan pleaded “no contest” Wednesday to charges related to an incident that occurred the morning of the Cowboys’ football game at Colorado State in late October.

Ghaifan, 21, was issued citations for harassment involving a strike, shove or kick and false imprisonment by the Fort Collins, Colorado, Police Department the morning of Oct. 26 at the Fort Collins Marriott, where the team was staying. The citations were both misdemeanors and involved a hotel employee. Ghaifan was not arrested.

Ghaifan attended Wednesday’s disposition hearing in Fort Collins with attorney Hannah Stephens, an associate with the Fischer Law Group of Fort Collins.

Under the plea agreement, Ghaifan pleaded no contest to harassment, and it was accepted by Judge Thomas Lynch.

When someone pleads “no contest” to a crime, they are effectively saying they do not contest allegations lined out by prosecutors and investigators in charging documents. During sentencing proceedings, such pleas are treated the same as if someone pleaded guilty to the crime.

The plea agreement in Ghaifan’s case includes:

A six-month unsupervised deferred sentence.

An agreement for Ghaifan to pay all court costs.

A requirement that Ghaifan perform 16 hours of community service.

A requirement that he obey the law, which includes no traffic citations. Ghaifan also cannot consume alcohol.

If Ghaifan complies with everything in the plea agreement, all charges will be dismissed.

The court appearance stems from an Oct. 26 incident at the Fort Collins Marriott, where the football team was staying before its annual Border War game with Colorado State University. It’s alleged Ghaifan tried to force himself on a housekeeper, closing the door to a room she was cleaning, trapping her against a wall and repeatedly trying to kiss her.

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18-year-old faces 33 years on drug charges

CODY (WNE) — An 18-year-old who was attending Cody High School at the time of his arrest is facing four felonies and more than 33 years in prison for charges of intent to deliver four different controlled substances.

An affidavit compiled by Cody police officer Blake Stinson said Chastyn Royer was found with Schedule I controlled substances ecstasy (MDMA) and marijuana, Schedule II substance Adderall and Schedule IV substance Xanax in the bedroom he shares with his 13-year-old brother at his Cody home Oct. 3.

Inside the room Cody officers found 2.15 grams of powdered ecstasy, 1.7 ounces of marijuana, six Adderall capsules and 30 Xanax pills, according to the affidavit.

Stinson said police also found heroin and morphine residue in a bag, a digital scale, marijuana pipe, snorting tube and multiple sized bags associated with drug distribution. The affidavit said police also seized a bag identical in size to the bag the marijuana was found in, with marijuana residue.

He is also facing three misdemeanors for being under the influence of meth and ecstasy, charges carrying up to one and a half years in prison and $2,250 in fines.

Stinson said police made contact with Royer on the morning of Oct. 1 when he was found impaired at the high school, already on probation and wearing an ankle monitor. Royer was taken to a hospital emergency room, where staff determined he had taken 12-14 maximum strength sleep aids to get high, said the affidavit. These pills were considered not controlled substances, Stinson said.

Stinson reported a Cody High student informed him Royer had sold the student a Xanax in the school bathroom the same day he was transported to the hospital.

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Man facing charges after alleged assault at Powell hospital

POWELL (WNE) — After allegedly chasing a Powell Valley Hospital nurse with an IV stand, barricading himself in an elderly patient’s room and screaming at a police officer, a 27-year-old Powell man is facing multiple criminal charges. 

Prosecutors have charged Thomas E. Larson with a felony count of aggravated assault and battery — alleging that he attempted to cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon (the IV stand) — and misdemeanor counts of property destruction and breach of peace. 

Larson was arrested at Powell Valley Hospital around 3 a.m. Sunday and released on an $8,000 bond on Monday afternoon, pending further proceedings in the case. 

Alcohol is alleged to have played a role in the incident, as a breath test reportedly pegged Larson’s blood alcohol content at 0.214 percent. That’s close to three times the point where someone is considered too impaired to safely drive. 

Sunday’s incident reportedly began when a Powell Valley Hospital nurse heard banging in the hallway and found Larson standing in the door of an equipment room. 

According to what the nurse later told police, Larson then barricaded himself inside the equipment room with medical items before emerging with an IV stand and chasing the man back toward the nurse’s station. 

Larson then ducked into an elderly patient’s hospital room, which is where he was when Powell Police Sgt. Chad Miner arrived on scene. The sergeant found Larson had braced the door to the room. Miner forced it open and Larson emerged from behind the door, holding the metal rod in his hands. 

The officer said he hit Larson in the upper chest with a palm heel strike, which knocked the 265-pound suspect down and into the wall.

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Cody High School gets gay-straight alliance club

CODY (WNE) — Cody High School now has a club organizers hope will be welcoming and inclusive.

In consent agenda action at the December meeting the Cody School Board approved Prism Club, the school’s first Gay Straight Alliance group.

Two supporters of the club who were prepared to speak yielded their time after the matter was approved unanimously without comment.

Trustee Tom Keegan made a point to remark on the decision later in board comments.

“These are tremendously courageous young people,”he said. “I think it’s incredible they’ve stepped up and done this.”

The decision was made to go forward after an informal get-together during a lunch earlier in the fall where students said they wanted the opportunity to gather, whether they themselves were part of the LGBTQ community or a supporter of them.

The club is sponsored by teacher Amy Gerber and was spurred on by, among others, by senior Ben Wambeke.

Wambeke and fellow students Aili Roberson and Kat Farmer applied on the club form.

There were a number of others who showed up to the fall lunch get-together in Gerber’s classroom, where the students and Gerber, whose son, a former CHS student, is gay, spoke about the need for a club.

Wambeke said later that as one of the most well-known people in the school who is openly out, he was glad to take the mantle and help students in the future.

“I want to make it easier for the younger students,” he said.

The club’s statement of purpose, according to the document, is to develop a gay-straight alliance club where all students are welcome.