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Man who stabbed woman last winter in motel sentenced to 5-7 year term

Sep 3, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Heto Thayer fled justice late one night in February by running from the hotel room where he had stabbed a woman, racing across parking lots and into the Riverton Walmart store.

The chase that began with Riverton Police tracking his footsteps through the snow ended on Aug. 29 when a district court judge sentenced Thayer to five to seven years in prison.

At the hearing, Thayer's lawyer argued for four to six years in prison.

In the end, though, Judge Norman E. Young agreed with deputy county attorney Timothy Hancock, who argued for the five- to seven-year sentence stipulated by the plea agreement.

Thayer, of Fort Washakie, pleaded no contest on July 3 no one count of aggravated assault and battery for stabbing Kimberly Potter of Riverton.

Aggravated assault and battery is a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Officials say that on Feb. 10 at the Comfort Inn in Riverton, Thayer, who was 32, stabbed Potter, who was 24, in the back and punctured her lung.

The Riverton Police Department responded at 5:37 a.m. Feb. 10 to a call from a hotel employee who reported that a woman had been stabbed at the facility. When officers arrived, they said they found Potter standing by the front desk with blood visible on her shirt and jacket. According to RPD Detective Sgt. Julie Mathews's affidavit, the officers examined Potter's back and observed a large cut on her left side.

Officers placed a towel over Potter's cut and applied pressure to slow the bleeding.

Potter said Thayer was the one who had stabbed her with a knife.

Two individuals -- Sharelle Brown, then 25, of Ethete, and Finceillius Burnett, then 26, of Fort Washakie -- started to walk toward Potter, who indicated they had been present at the time of the stabbing.

Potter was transported to Riverton Memorial Hospital, where she underwent surgery for a single stab wound to her flank and a punctured lung, according to Mathews's affidavit.

Police found Thayer at a check-out register in Walmart, drew their guns, and ordered him down.

Thayer complied, and police arrested him.

Officers did not find a weapon on him.

Once the sun came up, they searched Thayer's path from the hotel to Walmart. Officers found a bloody knife in a black sheath behind a set of tires of a tractor-trailer combination along the route.

"He'd stashed it," RPD Capt. Eric Murphy said in an interview.

Police said Thayer was intoxicated at the time of his arrest.

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