May 30, 2019
Gillette man sentenced in poaching case
GILLETTE (WNE) — A Gillette man must pay $4,000 in restitution and has had his hunting privileges suspended for two years because he killed a buck mule deer with a rifle during an archery-only season last fall.
Eric S. Sorensen, 42, was caught after a ranch manager called North Gillette Game Warden Kristen DaVanon on Sept. 16 after hunters on his land heard gunshots on nearby public land and later saw Sorensen with a buck mule deer, according to a Wyoming Game and Fish press release.
The ranch manager then visited with Sorensen on a road, saw him with the deer and provided his license plate number to DaVanon.
Sorensen and he agreed to meet DaVanon at noon. He had the deer in his possession, but denied that he had taken it with a firearm.
When she met with him for a second interview that evening, he admitted shooting the deer with a rifle from a roadway. He no longer had the deer carcass in his possession, claiming that while he was removing the cape, skull and antlers the meat had gone bad.
He admitted to dumping the meat along Echeta Road. DaVanon located the abandoned meat and determined most of it would have been salvageable at the time he disposed of it, according to the press release.
DaVanon confiscated the deer head and cape and Sorensen was charged with waste or abandonment of a big game animal, use of a firearm during a special archery season and shooting from a roadway. In addition to the restitution, he must pay $615 in fines.
Cheyenne kidnapping suspect bound over to district court
CHEYENNE (WNE) — A Cheyenne man accused of kidnapping a 1-year-old child and assaulting the child’s pregnant mother was bound over Friday to Laramie County District Court.
Mijito Johnson, 26, is facing two felony counts of aggravated assault against a pregnant woman and one count of interference with custody of a child.
Following testimony at Johnson’s preliminary hearing Friday, Laramie County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Lee said there’s sufficient evidence to move the case on to district court.
Johnson was arrested at his brother’s house in Aurora, Colorado, on April 11 after allegedly striking his pregnant girlfriend multiple times and kidnapping her son.
An Amber Alert was issued in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma, prompting a multi-state search for the abducted child.
Johnson was extradited to Wyoming, and is currently being held in Laramie County jail on a $15,000 cash bond.
According to court documents, a Cheyenne police officer was dispatched to a possible child custody incident around 3:12 p.m. April 11.
Johnson got into an argument with his live-in girlfriend over a car seat, which quickly became physical. The two began to struggle over the child, and Johnson struck the child’s mother in the head with an unknown object, causing her to briefly black out and fall to the ground.
The woman told officers that after she regained consciousness, she hit Johnson and asked him to leave her alone. Johnson left in his vehicle, but soon returned, eventually fleeing the area holding the child in his arms while driving the vehicle.
Reporting officers observed blood on the left side of the woman’s face and shirt, as well as bruises on her right cheek and both shoulders.
Devils Tower impact on local economies set at $38 million
GILLETTE (WNE) — A new National Park Service report shows that 468,215 visitors to Devils Tower National Monument in 2018 spent $30 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 414 jobs in the area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $38.2 million.
“The nation’s first national monument welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Amnesty Kochanowski, superintendent of Devils Tower National Monument, in a press release. “We are delighted to share the stories of Devils Tower and the experiences it provides. The Tower also introduces many visitors to Northeast Wyoming and all that it offers.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $20.2 billion of direct spending by more than 318 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 329,000 jobs nationally, with 268,000 of those jobs found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $40.1 billion.