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Fort Washakie man charged in stabbing at hotel

Feb 12, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

A 32-year-old Fort Washakie man is being charged with two counts of aggravated assault and battery after reportedly stabbing a Riverton woman early Sunday at the Comfort Inn.

The suspect, Heto Thayer, initially was arrested for first-degree attempted murder when he was apprehended by police at about 5:45 a.m. Sunday at Walmart. Officials said he had stabbed Kimberly Potter, 24, of Riverton, in the back and punctured her lung. She was in stable condition as of Monday.

Thayer made his initial appearance in circuit court Monday, and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 20. His bond was set at $75,000 cash.

Response

The Riverton Police Department responded at 5:37 a.m. Sunday to a call from a Comfort Inn employee who reported that a woman had been stabbed at the hotel. When they arrived, officers said they found Potter standing by the front desk with blood visible on her shirt and jacket. According to RPD Detective Sgt. Julie Mathews's

affidavit, the officers examined Potter's back and observed a large cut on her left side.

"Potter was visibly shaking and stated she had just been 'stabbed' and 'it hurts,'" Mathews wrote in the affidavit. "Potter was asked to sit down, but she refused, saying she was feeling light headed and was having trouble breathing."

Officers reportedly placed a towel over Potter's cut and applied pressure to slow the bleeding. Meanwhile, Potter reportedly stated that Thayer was the one who had stabbed her with a knife. Two individuals -- Sharelle Brown, 25, of Ethete, and Finceillius Burnett, 26, of Fort Washakie -- started to walk toward Potter, who reportedly indicated that they had been present at the time of the stabbing.

"The actual stabbing happened in the room," RPD Capt. Eric Murphy said Tuesday. "There were four people in the room, so we had two witnesses. (They said) 'We were there, we saw this guy do it, he ran off.'"

Burnett reportedly recorded a blood-alcohol content of .12.

Murphy added that Potter was dizzy and was drifting in and out of consciousness before emergency medical responders arrived on scene.

"She was ... not able to tell us what happened," he said.

Potter was transported to Riverton Memorial Hospital, where she underwent surgery for a single stab wound to her flank and a punctured lung, according to Mathews's affidavit.

Arrest

While Potter received medical attention, officers reportedly tracked Thayer's footsteps in the snow. The tracks led to Walmart, where officers said they located Thayer on the east side of the check-out registers.

"He was at one of the registers," Murphy said. "They got him down at gunpoint, got him into custody and brought him (to the station)."

According to the affidavit, the officers drew their department-issued handguns, yelled "police," and gave commands for Thayer to get on his stomach and place his hands to his sides with his palms facing up. Reports state Thayer complied and was placed in handcuffs.

Officers said they did not find any weapons on Thayer's possession, so once the sun was out they searched the area by walking from the north entrance of Walmart and retracing Thayer's path of travel in the snow.

They reportedly noticed that Thayer had passed by a tractor-trailer combination. After they looked behind a set of tires on the driver's side of the vehicle, the officers said they located a black knife sheath and a green-handled, stainless steel knife with what appeared to be blood on the blade.

"He'd stashed it," Murphy said.

He did not know more about the dimensions of the knife.

Murphy said Thayer was intoxicated and so was not interviewed immediately by police. Potter has been recovering and also had not been interviewed as of Tuesday morning, Murphy said.

"We don't really know a whole lot of anything yet," Murphy said. "I don't know (their relationship). We didn't get that far with it. ... There's definitely a lot more to come."

Aggravated assault and battery is a felony punishable by imprisonment of not more than 10 years, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.