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Murder suspect held on $500,000 bond in death of Shoshoni man

May 22, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Details have emerged in the case of Shey Bruce, 45, of Shoshoni, the alleged killer of Charles Darrell Laster, 65, also of Shoshoni.

The preliminary hearing for scheduled for May 22 was continued to June 12 at 9 a.m.

Court documents show Bruce is charged with second degree murder. He is accused of killing Laster on Tuesday, May 14, purposely and maliciously but without premeditation.

The maximum penalty is 20 years to life in prison for the felony charge.

Circuit Court Judge Wesley A. Roberts set Bruce's bail at $500,000 cash.

Bruce also is accused of committing domestic violence and battery against 49-year-old Shoshoni resident Lavena Sue Laster on May 14. The second charge is a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to six months in prison, a fine of up to $750, or both.

At the an initial hearing May 16, Fremont County Sheriff's Office detective Eric Granlund said his office's investigation indicated that Lavena Laster is the girlfriend of Bruce.

An obituary states that Lavena Laster is Charles Laster's wife.

Granlund testified the sheriff's deputies responded to 115 Main St. in Shoshoni at about 11 p.m. May 14. There, Lavena Laster told deputies she had a pain in her head from being struck there, the detective said. Officers noted a small bruise on her forehead.

Granlund stated Charles Laster told deputies that evening that both he and Lavena Laster had been hit in the head with a beer bottle by a man named Shey. The detective said he believes Charles Laster was referring to Shey Bruce.

On May 15 at 7:11 a.m., Granlund responded to a call from the same residence, the detective testified. There, an ambulance crew told him Charles Laster was dead. A preliminary autopsy showed the cause of death was blunt-force trauma, Granlund said.

The incident originally was listed as a cardiac arrest on Fremont County Sheriff's Office reports.

At the hearing, Fremont County deputy attorney Timothy Hancock said Bruce's blood-alcohol content was found to be .152 percent, though Hancock was not clear if the test was conducted on May 14 or 15.

Hancock also said Sheriff's Office reports stated both alleged victims had been drinking on May 14.

A preliminary hearing to determine if the state had probable cause to bind over Bruce's murder charge to district court originally was scheduled for May 22.

Riverton circuit court chief clerk Jennifer Clymer said Bruce's attorney asked for the continuance.

The preliminary hearing was rescheduled to Wednesday, June 12, at 9 a.m.

At the initial hearing on May 16, Bruce said he moved to Wyoming on April 4 and has worked odd jobs since his arrival. He previously resided in Arizona.

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