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State Briefs


January 9, 2020

Riverton man extradited in 36-year-old murder

RIVERTON (WNE) — A Riverton man indicted Sept. 23 on first-degree murder charges has been extradited to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he pleaded “not guilty” Dec. 12. 

The murder case is 36 years old. 

Willie C. Moore, 61, was arrested by the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office Sept. 20 after three years’ contact between the local law enforcement entity and a cold-case detective team from Tulsa. 

At his initial appearance in Lander Circuit Court, Moore denied having committed murder. 

He told Judge Robert B. Denhardt, “I didn’t have nothing to do with that.” 

Fremont County Undersheriff Mike Hutchison said there were no special challenges in Moore’s arrest, however, when he refused to be extradited, prosecutors sought a governor’s warrant to finish the process. 

Once Gov. Mark Gordon compared the identities of the man wanted by Tulsa law enforcement and the local Willie C. Moore, the latter was extradited despite his refusal. 

According to the Tulsa Police Department cold case file, on Sept. 18, 1983, Anthony Baltes was found deceased inside a motel room in Tulsa having been tied up and subject to “blunt-force trauma.” Robbery was the suspected motive at the time. 

Baltes’s vehicle was discovered near the scene. 

The office of Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed a press release Sept. 20 crediting DNA technology with the identification of the two suspects: Riverton’s Willie C. Moore, and Erlene Gayle Lee, 58, of Texas. 

Lee also was extradited from Texas to Oklahoma. She pleaded “not guilty” in October. 

Corrections Department seeks $4 million for hepatitis treatments

CASPER (WNE) — Gov. Mark Gordon is recommending the Legislature reject a $4 million proposal to treat Wyoming inmates who have hepatitis C, something Corrections Department officials say is in keeping with local standards and with recent court cases from across the country. 

One-hundred thirty-eight inmates in Wyoming’s prisons have hepatitis C in one of three categories of severity. Currently, the state treats those who have deteriorated into the two worse categories. Treatment, which in recent years has effectively cured the viral condition, is expensive: a Corrections Department official told lawmakers last month that it can cost thousands of dollars. 

Robert Lampert, the director of the Corrections Department, told lawmakers last month that while people on Medicare or Medicaid are fully covered for hepatitis C treatment, inmates can’t enroll in either program and thus aren’t covered. 

Corrections officials asked lawmakers for money last year to treat patients. That request was denied, and legislators instead asked for more information on the extent of hepatitis C in Wyoming’s prisons. Testing revealed that roughly eight percent of the state’s inmates had the disease, compared to more than 17 percent nationally. 

In that report, Lampert wrote that the $4 million request was a “one-time” ask. Going forward, he said, hepatitis C treatment will be part of the state’s contract with the independent medical company that provides treatment to inmates.

Gillette woman sought in international meth ring arrested

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 40-year-old Gillette woman who has been on the run from federal law enforcement for the last six months is now in custody.

Billie Jo Adams, also known as Billie Jo Reynolds, was arrested on warrants at about midnight Dec. 28 in Cheyenne, said Campbell County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Maul.

Adams has a federal warrant from the U.S. Marshal for her alleged involvement in a Mexican drug cartel’s international conspiracy to distribute meth.

In May, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Southern California said police had arrested 33 of the 43 people charged in the case and seized roughly 80 pounds of meth, four guns and more than $100,000 cash.

Adams was one of ten people law enforcement agencies were still looking for.

Adams also had three warrants out of Campbell County, including probation revocation on an original charge of taking a controlled substance into jail and bench warrants for failure to appear on an original charge of defrauding a drug/alcohol test for bond revocation on an original charge of failure to abide by bond conditions by leaving treatment.

She was brought to Campbell County by Natrona County law enforcement late Friday morning, Maul said. The earliest local warrant was issued in June 2018, meaning Adams had been on the run for a year and a half at the time of her arrest.

FCC gives $8.5 million for Albany Co. broadband

LARAMIE (WNE) — The Federal Communications Commission has authorized $8.5 million in funding for broadband to be expanded in Albany County to 8,179 remote and rural locations.

The funding for Albany County accounts for most of the $9.3 million the FCC approved for Wyoming broadband in December.

Ten other Wyoming counties also received some funding, though the average sum for those counties is $85,160.

Albany County is receiving almost a tenth of the entire funding the FCC is investing nationwide in this round of Connect America Fund Phase II projects.

Satellite provider Viasat is responsible for using the funding to provide service to the homes and businesses in Wyoming, using speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps.

“Albany County’s support is based on the number of locations in the area without options for voice and adequately-advanced broadband service [at least 10/1 Mbps],” FCC spokesman Will Wiquist told the Laramie Boomerang in an email. 

Wiquist said Viasat offered coverage for Wyoming at the best price.

In return for the funding, Viasat will need to provide the service at lower costs to consumers than typical while also permitting high usage allowances. Wiquist said the prices will need to be “reasonably comparable to the rates for similar service in urban areas” using the FCC’s Urban Rate Survey.

Gunmaker files for bankruptcy

CASPER (WNE) — Glenrock-based firearms manufacturer Sharps Rifle Company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after years of declining revenue and growing debts, according to documents filed Dec. 31. 

According to the documents, filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Wyoming, the company owes more than $4 million in total, spread between nine different creditors. The debts range in amounts from less than $2000 to nearly $2 million for services covering advertising to working capital to equipment. The debt also includes a $835,986 judgment levied by a Missouri court to be paid to a former owner of Sharps for fraud and intellectual property violations. 

The filings show the company struggling over the last few years. In 2017, Sharps brought in a little more than $1 million in gross revenue. In 2019, it took in only $578,000. 

Clark Stith, a Rock Springs-based attorney representing Sharps, said right now the bankruptcy shouldn’t have a large effect on Glenrock because it’s a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That means the company will be able to continue business as usual while going through the bankruptcy court proceedings. 

The facility currently employs only one person. Glenrock Mayor Bruce Roumell said the facility hasn’t had more than one employee for over a year. 

The company’s president, Jay Johnston, did not immediately return calls Thursday seeking additional information. 

Cody standoff ends with one dead

CODY (WNE) — A standoff involving Cody police and Park County deputies ended around 5:30 p.m. Monday when authorities in tactical gear entered a camper where a 76-year-old man had shot and killed himself after shooting a woman in the head, according to a Cody Police Department news release.

The woman, his 44-year-old girlfriend, suffered non life-threatening injuries and was taken to the Cody Regional Health Emergency Department.

For roughly two hours authorities, some with the Tactical Response Team carrying rifles, had surrounded a fifth wheel parked in the Parkway RV Campground and Trailer Village and had at one point fired several rounds of possible smoke or concussion grenades. 

The incident began at 3:29 p.m. when an ambulance responded to a 44-year-old woman with a head injury. 

The female told officers she was shot in the head by her boyfriend during an argument in their camper, which was located in the RV park behind the gas station, the release states. The female was able to leave the camper and sought help at the gas station. 

The male followed the female to the gas station, but apparently returned to the camper as law enforcement arrived.

Multiple attempts to make contact with the male were unsuccessful. With the assistance of the Cody Bomb Team, a specialized robot was deployed into the camper and it was discovered the male suspect was deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.


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