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Convenience store suspect returns to face charges

Mar 20, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

The suspect in February's stabbing assault at a Riverton Maverik Country Store is back in Fremont County to face an attempted second-degree murder charge, among others.

Fremont County Sheriff's Capt. Ryan Lee said Thomas Joseph Shakespeare, 29, of the Riverton area, was booked into the Fremont County Detention Center on March 11 after being captured in Nevada. He is held on a $200,000 cash bond.

Shakespeare made his first court appearance March 12 at Riverton Circuit Court. He is expected back in court for a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 21.

Shakespeare is also charged with two counts of aggravated assault and battery and one count of misdemeanor battery.

Prosecutors could seek a sentence of life in prison for the attempted second-degree murder charge, according to charging documents. The three other charges carry a combined prison sentence of up to 20 years and six months and $20,750 in fines.

On Feb. 22, the Riverton Police Department identified Shakespeare as the suspect involved in the assault Feb. 1 at the South Federal Boulevard Maverik store, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

For two days, police worked to locate Shakespeare, contacting police in nearby states and asking the public to be on the lookout.

RPD Capt. C.T. Smith said investigators made contact with police agencies in southern Utah and northern Nevada after it was reported Shakespeare could be in those areas.

Shakespeare was located and arrested Feb. 24 in Mesquite, Nev.

Investigation

According to charging documents, it is alleged that on Feb. 1, Shakespeare intended to commit second-degree murder by purposely and maliciously, but without premeditated malice, attempting to kill Darwin Gambler, 28, of Riverton, by stabbing him in the eye once and multiple times in the side with a knife.

The aggravated assault and battery charges allege Shakespeare intentionally or knowingly stabbed Gambler and attempted to cause serious bodily injury to another "under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life."

Under the battery charge, it's alleged Shakespeare intentionally struck a second man, Ian Pine, 28, of Riverton, in the face causing a nasal fracture and injuries to Pine's head.

In an affidavit filed Feb. 9 in Riverton Circuit Court, Riverton police detective Jason Cox said officers were dispatched to the Maverik Country Store at about 11:40 p.m. Feb. 1 about a man, later identified as Gambler, who was in the store and bleeding.

Cox said before police arrived, Gambler drove himself to Riverton Memorial Hospital for multiple stab wounds to his left ribcage and one in his left eye socket sustained while at the Maverik.

Gambler was later taken by air ambulance to the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City for his injuries.

Cox said Pine told police he observed Gambler speaking with a man named Daniel Whitebird as Pine and Gambler exited the Maverik the previous night.

"Pine noticed an unknown person, who appeared to be with Whitebird, walking near Pine," Cox said in his affidavit. "Pine made a comment to this unknown person. Shortly after making the comment, Pine was hit in the head and knocked to the ground by the unknown person."

Cox said Pine reported that he struggled with the unknown person, later identified as Shakespeare, and called out to Gambler for help.

Pine told police he ran from the scene once he separated himself from Shakespeare. At the time, Pine said he was unaware of Gambler being stabbed.

Cox said Whitebird told police he was with his cousin, Shakespeare, at the store Feb. 1.

"Whitebird stated that he witnessed a fight occur between Shakespeare and Ian Pine," Cox said. "Whitebird stated that he observed Darwin Gambler go over to the area where Shakespeare and Pine were fighting. Whitebird speculated Gambler was trying to break up the fight or get into the middle of the fight."

Cox said Whitebird told police he noticed after Gambler went to where Shakespeare and Pine were fighting that Gambler was holding his "cheek or his mouth or something."

"Whitebird then noticed that Gambler had 'blood all over him,'" Cox said.

Officers also interviewed Mariah Yellowfox, who was at the Maverik with Shakespeare and Whitebird when the alleged fight occurred.

Cox said Yellowfox reported seeing Shakespeare brandishing a knife after they left the store.

"While brandishing the knife, Yellowfox heard Shakespeare say something to the effect of 'they were trying to jump me, so that's what they deserve,'" Cox said.

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