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Shoshoni man pleads not guilty to murder charges

Jul 11, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Shey Bruce pleaded not guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder charges in the death of a Shoshoni man. His arraignment was in front of Wyoming 9th Judicial District Court Judge Norman E. Young.

A trial for Bruce's case is set for Oct. 18.

Bruce's hearing broke with standard procedure only at one point.

Young asked if Bruce understood his rights, and the defendant asked the judge to repeat them. Young obliged, and afterward, Bruce indicated he understood.

Young had explained the defendant's rights earlier when he addressed all five people being arraigned that day.

The judge then explained the charges against the defendant.

Bruce, 45, recently moved to Shoshoni and faces a second-degree murder charge and one count of misdemeanor domestic violence in relation to the death of Charles Darrell Laster, 65, and for domestic violence battery against Lavena Sue Laster, who was Charles Laster's wife and in a romantic relationship with Bruce.

The maximum penalty for the murder charge is life in prison and a $10,000 fine, and the misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a $750 fine.

Young asked Bruce's lawyer, public defender Devon Petersen, how the defendant would plea. Petersen said "not guilty" and Bruce agreed.

The judge set a trial date and continued Bruce's $500,000 bond.

Fremont County Sheriff's Office detective Eric Granlund testified at a previous hearing that Bruce struck both Lasters in the head with a beer bottle a little before 11 p.m. May 14 at Charles Laster's residence at 115 Main St., Shoshoni.

The next morning, Lavena Laster found her husband lying dead on the floor of his home. Granlund said an autopsy found the cause of death to be bleeding between the skull and brain caused by blunt force trauma to the head.

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