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Murder suspect killed victim with hammer

Mar 8, 2017 By Andrea Novotny, Staff Writer

Florin Brandon Wyatt of Riverton, charged with one count of second degree murder, told authorities he used a claw hammer to kill a 56-year-old Keith Stephenson.

Wyatt is also charged with stealing the victim's 2010 Jeep Patriot, wallet, credit cards and a firearm.

On Sunday at approximately 10:46 a.m., the Riverton Police Department was dispatched to the residence of 905 West Park Avenue for a report of a dead body.

The reporting party told RPD Sgt. Scott Komrs that he had not seen the victim in three or four days, and was concerned because they usually speak every morning.

The reporting party further advised that Stephenson had been allowing a man, later identified as Wyatt, to live in his basement, but had kicked him out a couple of days prior.

Stephenson's body was located covered up on the floor in the attached garage with numerous deep lacerations to the left side, back, and top of the head.

The affidavit states that Komrs observed blood on the kitchen floor and "significant directional blood splatter" on the floor and walls in the living room, some of which appeared to have been cleaned or wiped, leading to the body. Blood also appeared to be smeared as the body was dragged from inside the residence, down the stairs, and onto the garage floor.

Authorities spoke with other residents of the neighborhood, and believe that Stephenson was last seen at the residence on Friday.

On March 5, Wyatt was located in Pine Bluffs and taken into custody. He told officers he was headed for Sydney, Nebraska, and had stopped in Pine Bluffs to sleep. He said he originally had planned to go to his home town of Bastrop Louisiana.

Later that day, Wyoming Division of Investigation special agent Jason Moon conducted a custodial interview of Wyatt, in which Wyatt said he had been living at the residence of the man he killed using a claw hammer with a blue handle on March 3.

Wyatt stated that he and the victim had been arguing about the Denver Broncos, and then retrieved the hammer and hid it approximately one hour and 30 minutes into the argument, intending to "break stuff with it" because he was angry with Stephenson.

Wyatt said he later went to bed, and re-emerged at what he estimated was close to 6 p.m. and two two engaged in a verbal argument which escalated until Stephenson attempted to hit him. Wyatt then hit Stephenson with the hammer one time in the forehead. Wyatt told Moon that Stephenson then attempted to strike him again. Wyatt then hit Stephenson in the left temple and "kept beating him until he was dead," then attempted to clean up the scene.

The second degree murder charge is punishable by imprisonment of no less than 20 years and charge of theft is punishable by no more than 10 years, a fine of no more than $10,000, or both.

Bail has been set at $1 million.

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