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State Briefs

Teen joy ride causes more than $40,000 damage

GILLETTE (WNE) — Two teenagers were arrested and a third is still at large after they were caught driving a stolen pickup through Fox Park and the Energy Capital Sports Complex on Wednesday night, causing more than $40,000 in damage in the process.

A call first came in of a suspected drunken driver when a 26-year-old woman reported she saw a white 2006 Chevy pickup collide with a portable toilet at Fox Park then crash through her own fence and drive in circles through her backyard, said Police Lt. Kelly Alger.

Officers found empty alcohol bottles, broken glass and a backpack at the park. 

A few minutes later, another call came in reporting the pickup had busted through a fence at the Energy Capital Sports Complex.

When police arrived, bystanders had one of the suspects, age 14, apprehended. The witnesses said there were two more boys who ran off. Officers tracked down a 16-year-old boy, but the third suspect was still unidentified as of Thursday morning.

It was later learned that the truck was stolen and both teenagers were taken to jail. Both teenagers are thought to have been “impaired to some degree,” Alger said.

Estimated damage to the backyard, both parks and the truck is more than $40,000.

“Most of that is going to be fencing that they just drove through until the truck was no longer operational and that’s when they ran, is my understanding,” Alger said.

Both teenagers were arrested for felony conspiracy to commit destruction of property and felony theft, Alger said.

Judge freezes assets in $15 million fraud case

RIVERTON (WNE) — Former Wyoming Catholic College chief financial officer Paul McCown of Lander has been ordered by a federal judge not to make any financial transactions other than routine purchases and exchanges. 

McCown is accused in a federal suit filed in June of acquiring a $15 million loan under false pretenses, then distributing most of the money to several recipients. 

The plaintiff in the case, investment services firm RIA R Squared, filed suit against McCown on June 22, alleging that McCown pretended he was worth more than $750 million in order to reap a $15 million loan from the company. 

The complaint states the fraud was achieved by McCown through forgery of bank statements pertaining to his account, and by his own impersonation of Wyoming Community Bank vice president Kendall Hayford, whom RIA R Squared attempted to contact to confirm McCown’s standing. 

On June 23, RIA R Squared filed a request for a preliminary injunction against McCown, which would forbid the Lander man from making unusual transfers of his funds –– or “dissipating, disposing of, liquidating, disseminating, and/or transferring, directly or indirectly, any of (his) personal assets or any assets of entities they own or control, other than in the ordinary course of business or personal affairs.” 

Man found not guilty on sexual exploitation charges

GILLETTE (WNE) — A man accused of six counts of sexual exploitation of children for possessing child pornography was found not guilty on all six charges.

Terrill Kim Morris, aka Terril Kim Morris, 56, had been accused of knowingly possessing and watching six videos that showed young boys engaged in sexual conduct. The videos were found while Morris was being investigated for the alleged sexual abuse of two boys.

District Judge Thomas W. Rumpke presided over the trial, which happened Monday and Tuesday.

After deliberating for about two hours, the jury came to a verdict of not guilty on all counts.

Morris’s attorney, Public Defender Richard Weisheimer, said the police charged Morris because they were uncomfortable with the videos he was watching.

Morris, a registered sex offender from Washington, moved to Gillette in 2019.

The sexual abuse accusations were not brought up during this week’s trial. Morris will be tried on those charges at a later date.

When the Gillette Police Department was investigating Morris for the alleged sexual abuse investigation, Detective Julianne Witham found eight videos on Morris’s phone depicting young boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct. This led to eight counts of sexual exploitation of children. Two of the counts were later dropped.

The jury, made up of eight women and four men, watched the six videos and were tasked with determining whether the people in the videos were children or adults.

Simpson recovering after fall and surgery

CODY (WNE) — The former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson is recovering from a fall he took in California last week, requiring a partial hip replacement and surgery.

His son, Colin Simpson, confirmed that the fall took place on Thursday.

Simpson said when his father fell, he suffered a femoral neck fracture at the head of the femur and under the ball of the hip joint. According to the The National Center for Biotechnology Information, femoral neck fractures are a specific type of intracapsular hip fracture.

Al Simpson only needed a partial hip replacement on about “half” of the hip, to replace the ball of the hip joint, Colin Simpson said.

He said his father is working hard in physically therapy in order to regain the necessary strength to return to Cody, which should happen in about “1-2 weeks,” Colin Simpson estimated.

“He’s doing well other than having to get a new hip,” he said.

Gas prices rise 4.2 cents in past week

CHEYENNE (WNE) — Wyoming gasoline prices have risen 4.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.40 per gallon Monday, according to’s daily survey of 494 stations in Wyoming.

Gas prices in Wyoming are 26.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, and stand $1.26 per gallon higher than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Wyoming was priced at $2.89 per gallon Monday, while the most expensive was $4.05, a difference of $1.16 per gallon.

The national average price of gasoline has risen 1.3 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.16 per gallon Monday. The national average is up 10.2 cents per gallon from a month ago, and stands 98 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

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