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First-degree murder charged in death of man found March 10

May 30, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Two American Indian men are in custody for alleged first-degree murder in connection with the death of Tad Paul Barnson, whose skeletal remains were found March 10 on the Wind River Indian Reservation east of Riverton.

Barnson had been missing since 2006.

According to court documents, Alan and Vernon Brown of Riverton caused "serious injuries to Barnson through violent assault" on or about May 6, 2006, then left him on the reservation "in a remote area with no means to access medical care."

The charges also allege that the defendants "did knowingly aid and abet each other in the commission of said offense."

The documents state Alan and Vernon Brown committed the above acts "willfully, deliberately, maliciously and with premeditation and malice aforethought."

Penalties for the alleged offenses include life imprisonment or death, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment.

In custody

Alan Brown was arrested at about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday in the 600 block of South Federal Boulevard in Riverton, and documents state Vernon Brown also was arrested Tuesday in Riverton.

The men had their initial appearance Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming in Lander. Jeffrey D. Stanbury was appointed to defend Alan Brown, while Vernon Brown was represented by James T. Whiting of Whiting Law in Lander.

The Browns are scheduled for a detention hearing and

arraignment on Friday, also in Lander. Court documents state the suspects are eligible for detention orders because the case involved a crime of violence and there is a "serious risk the defendant(s) will flee."

"The court should detain the defendant(s) because there are no conditions of release which will reasonably assure defendant(s') appearance as required, (or the) safety of any other person and the community," the document states.

John Powell, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said he is unable to comment on the case while it is being processed.

"Until the case is decided one way or the other, I can't talk about specifics," Powell said.

He expected his office to issue a press release on the case late Thursday.

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