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State Briefs

 

September 12, 2019



Sex offender moved to Wyoming to ‘fly under radar’

GILLETTE (WNE) — Prosecutors are recommending prison time for an Oregon sex offender who moved to Gillette more than a year ago to “fly under the radar” and take some college classes.

George Cook IV never registered as a sex offender — a fact law enforcement learned after he was arrested in domestic violence cases in February. The cases were considered felonies because he had two previous convictions for domestic violence in 2016 in Washington and 2017 in Oregon.

The second incident also involved strangulation of a household member and aggravated assault and battery.

Cook, 42, pleaded guilty to domestic battery, strangulation, aggravated assault and battery and failure to register as a sex offender, all felonies. Another felony count of domestic battery was dismissed, as well as misdemeanor counts of interfering with an emergency call and destruction of property.

As part of the agreement, prosecutors will recommend a two- to four-year prison sentence for the domestic battery and failure to register charges and three- to five-year sentences for strangulation and aggravated assault. Most of those will be consecutive. He can argue for less. He also must pay restitution of $13,305 to Medicaid.

Sheriff’s investigators learned Cook was a sex offender and had not registered as one when he moved to Wyoming in April 2018, according to court documents.

He told investigators that he was “just trying to fly under the radar” when he moved to Wyoming to go to college to get a degree in diesel mechanics. He then intended to move back to Oregon.

Wyoming schools ranked sixth best in nation

JACKSON (WNE) — Wyoming may be small, but its schools pack a punch.

That’s according to Education Week, a publication that reports on schools across the country. The final part of its 2019 Quality Counts report pitted the states’ educational systems against each other in a number of categories, and Wyoming ranked near the top in some. 

For school finance, a measure of how much the state spends on education, Wyoming ranked first, with high levels of spending per student and equity in spending across school districts. Wyoming’s school foundation program guarantees each district a certain amount of money based on some complicated formulas, essentially sending money from more affluent districts to poorer ones.

Wyoming was given a score of 92.8 out of 100 for school finance — an A — while the national average was a C.

The scores were a bit more mixed in the other categories. Wyoming outpaced the nation, just barely, in K-12 student performance. The state scored about average in terms of students’ actual performance in school, but its marks in educational equity regarding socioeconomic gaps boosted its overall score.

It ranked ninth in the gap between affluent students and low-income ones, meaning that the gap was smaller than in most states. The state’s scores in the final major category, chance for success, were similarly mixed, with Wyoming doing better than the nation in setting children up for success when they enter school.

Feds investigate August shooting as murder

RIVERTON (WNE) — Federal officials are investigating a shooting that resulted in the death of Victor W. Addison, 29.

Addison was found dead Aug. 4 as the result of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Fremont County Coroner’s Office, which has ruled the death a homicide.

Chief deputy coroner Erin Ivie said the homicide determination was made “based on evidence found on or with the body [as well as] circumstances of the scene.”

“[From] what I viewed, it was apparent,” she said Friday.

Federal Bureau of Information public affairs officer Amy Meyer said her agency’s investigation into the case is “active, ongoing and a priority matter with dedicated resources from multiple agencies working around the clock to bring it to resolution.”

She could not provide comment or specifics Friday, however.

Records from the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office indicate Addison’s body was found at about 5:40 a.m. Aug. 4 in an area near Riverton.

The FCCO says he initially was a “John Doe,” identified as a 20-30-year-old American Indian male approximately 6 feet tall and 175 pounds with black hair, brown eyes and a tattoo of a spade and stars over his right forearm.

Toxicology testing showed his blood-alcohol content was .22 at the time of his death, and he had 180 nanograms per milliliter of methamphetamine in his system.

His date of death is the same as the date he was found.

 
 

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