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Apr 25, 2013 - The Associated Press
New sentence for teen in killing
CHEYENNE -- A second of the three teenagers involved in the 2009 home invasion slaying of a Sheridan ...
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New sentence for teen in killing
CHEYENNE -- A second of the three teenagers involved in the 2009 home invasion slaying of a Sheridan businessman deserves a new sentencing hearing because of a recent shift in federal law, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
Dharminder Vir Sen told police he shot Robert Ernst, 79, after breaking into his home. Sen was 15 at the time of the shooting.
A district judge sentenced Sen to life in prison without parole plus an additional 40 to 50 years on convictions of aggravated burglary and conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.
Wednesday's court ruling upholds Sen's convictions. But it says the district court must resentence him as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last summer that outlawed mandatory life sentences for juvenile killers.
While it's still possible for judges to sentence juveniles to life in prison, the U.S. Supreme Court said judges must have other options and consider factors such as the defendant's maturity and emotional development.
The Wyoming Legislature this year rewrote the state law on juvenile life sentences to bring it into compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling.
Under the new law, which goes into effect in July, juveniles sentenced to life imprisonment will be eligible to be considered for parole after serving 25 years.
Lawyers for Sen and his co-defendant Wyatt Bear Cloud, who was 16 at the time of the shooting, asked the Wyoming Supreme Court to review their convictions last year following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
The third defendant in Ernst's killing, Dennis Poitra Jr., was 18 at the time, and his life sentence wasn't affected by the ruling.
The Wyoming Supreme Court last year vacated Bear Cloud's life sentence on similar grounds and ordered him to be resentenced.
Court date set in Clark triple slaying
CODY -- Two teenagers charged in the shooting deaths of a woman and her parents near the Wyoming-Montana border are due to be arraigned in Park County District Court on May 22.
Court documents filed Wednesday said Stephen Hammer and Tanner Vanpelt, both 19 years old, will appear before Judge Steven Cranfill in Cody to enter pleas. They are represented by attorneys from the Public Defender's Office.
Prosecutors charge the teens shot and killed Ildiko Freitas and her parents, Janos and Hildegard Volgyesi, at a residence in the small community of Clark on March 2.
The teenagers allegedly wanted Freitas' Audi sport-utility vehicle to drive to Denver to sell stolen handguns. Police say the teenagers shot and killed Freitas and her parents after Freitas argued against giving them her vehicle.
Reporter being pressured to testify
CHEYENNE -- A Wyoming newspaper is trying to prevent one of its reporters from being forced to testify about a bank robbery suspect she interviewed.
U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson is scheduled to hold a hearing on the issue in Cheyenne Thursday.
Jackson Hole News & Guide reporter Emma Breysse interviewed Corey Allan Donaldson, who is charged with robbing more than $140,000 from a bank in Jackson. She reported that Donaldson told her that he robbed the bank so he could give money to the poor.
Newspaper publisher Kevin Olson says forcing her to testify would have a chilling effect on newsgathering.
Wyoming Press Association executive director Jim Angell notes that Donaldson issued news releases detailing his "Robin Hood" defense and questions the need to talk to a reporter about it.
Traffic stop yields mobile meth lab
CHEYENNE -- A man faces criminal charges following a Cheyenne traffic stop in which police say they found him driving with a young girl in a van that held a mobile methamphetamine laboratory.
Forty-two-year-old Daniel G. Corcilius was charged Tuesday with child endangerment and possession of clandestine laboratory equipment in Laramie County Circuit Court. He faces a preliminary hearing next month.
A Laramie County sheriff's deputy stopped Corcilius on Saturday as he was driving in Cheyenne with his 6-year-old daughter. Corcilius was arrested after the deputy saw what he believed was a meth lab in the van.
Court documents say Corcilius told an investigator that he had produced meth using the items in the van but had forgotten they were in the car.