Weaver murder trial date still uncertain
CHEYENNE –– It's still up in the air whether the trial of a man accused of fatally shooting two adults and injuring two children will go forward in August.
Andrew Jonathan Weaver is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree attempted murder, second-degree attempted murder, aggravated assault and battery (bodily injury with a weapon) and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty to these charges in July.
Weaver's trial is currently set for Aug. 3.
However, State Public Defender Diane Lozano, who is representing Weaver in the case, said at a Monday afternoon hearing that she and her client had concerns about going forward with a jury trial under Laramie County District Court's current trial plan, which requires participants to wear masks.
"If we are still under the trial plan, and Mr. Weaver decides to go to trial, I will be asking the court for a continuance so that we can try a multiple homicide case in as normal circumstances as possible," Lozano said.
Laramie County District Judge Steven Sharpe said it was his "strong intention" to keep the case on the trial schedule unless presented with compelling evidence, because of how far in the future the court would have to reset the trial. If the trial does take place, it's expected to last about three weeks.
Both Lozano and Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove also mentioned ongoing "negotiations" with Weaver, likely referring to a potential plea agreement, which would circumvent the need for a trial.
"As soon as we have a strong indication one way or the other, we will let the court know," Manlove said during the hearing.
Weaver is currently in custody, according to Judge Sharpe.
In his federal case, Weaver was ordered to be placed in a Wyoming facility while awaiting proceedings in the Laramie County case.
In February 2020, Weaver pleaded guilty to a gun charge in U.S. District Court in connection with this case. He pleaded guilty to being in possession of a stolen firearm, with an additional charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm dismissed at sentencing as part of a plea agreement, according to previous reporting. He was sentenced to 120 months in prison, to be served concurrently with any sentence he receives in the Laramie County case.
Weaver's district court case was mentioned in a recent charge filed by the Wyoming State Bar against Manlove, which said Weaver was released from jail in September 2019 because of a failure of Manlove’s office to file charges against him. Five days later, Weaver was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting for which he is now charged with murder and attempted murder.
On Sept. 16, 2019, Weaver allegedly shot four people in the 3400 block of East 11th Street.
Cheyenne Police officers found Shaline Wymer dead at the residence with a gunshot wound to her head. Adrien Butler was shot in the head and declared dead at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, according to court documents.
A 14-year-old boy was shot in the hand, head and stomach, but survived after being airlifted to Children’s Hospital Colorado. Another 14-year-old was shot in the face and treated at a hospital, but was released the same day.
A fifth person, Armondo Butler, was shot at, but told police he avoided being shot by diving under a bed. While he was lying on the floor, Adrien Butler was shot and fell on top of him, according to court documents.
About two hours after the incident, officers found Weaver in a field by Ashley Furniture on Nationway. He was in possession of a silver-and-black Smith and Wesson 9mm semiautomatic handgun, which he later told detectives was the gun he used to shoot Wymer, Butler and the two boys.
During the interview with detectives, Weaver said he'd gone to the home to trade a gun and buy methamphetamine, but that he felt threatened and decided to shoot Butler, Wymer and others in the home, according to court documents.