Wyoming news briefs for April 5

Fatal hit and run case to be heard in Laramie County District Court

CHEYENNE – The case of a local man accused of fatally hitting a pedestrian with his truck while drunk was found to have probable cause Friday morning and will be heard in Laramie County District Court.

Kyle Ziemer, 32, of Cheyenne appeared in Laramie County Circuit Court Friday for a preliminary hearing.

He is currently charged with aggravated homicide by vehicle (DUI), which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death, according to circuit court records.

Andrea Martinez, 38, of Cheyenne was identified Wednesday by Wyoming Highway Patrol as the victim in the case. Martinez was taken to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, where she died from her injuries.

At about 5:45 p.m. March 24, officers responded to a hit and run involving a pedestrian near the intersection of Nationway and Hot Springs Avenue. According to two witnesses, Martinez was walking eastbound on a paved median on Nationway when the driver of a red 2014 Chevy Silverado pickup truck, later identified as Ziemer, swerved into the median and struck Martinez. The witnesses followed Ziemer when he fled the scene, and Cheyenne Police officer Logan Warren picked him up at his residence shortly after the incident.

During interviews with police, Ziemer said he’d had six beers at a work party, and initially said he had been driven home by a friend. He later told police he was the driver and had hit Martinez with his vehicle.

Ziemer’s blood-alcohol level was tested at CRMC after the incident, but the results are unknown.  Ziemer failed one field sobriety test, Warren said; further tests were not conducted because Ziemer had fallen over several times while in police custody.


Devils Tower closes routes to protect nesting falcons

GILLETTE — Rock climbing routes on the southwest face and edges of the Devils Tower summit are temporarily closed to protect nesting peregrine and prairie falcons.

The annual closure is effective immediately. It is done to give the falcons an undisturbed nesting location during a critical courtship and nest-selection period, according to a press release from the National Park Service.

The presence of climbers near falcon nests can be distressing to parent birds and disturbance from climbing activities may force falcons to abandon eggs or chicks, according to the press release.

It also protects climbers because falcons are known to defensively dive to protect their nests.

The climbing routes affected by the closure are between “Good Holds for Godzilla” and “Accident Victim” (Nos. 135–182 in the "Devils Tower National Monument Climbing Handbook"). Route closures will be posted at the climber registration kiosk near the visitor center.

More than 100 climbing routes remain open.

The affected routes will remain closed until the young falcons fledge and are no longer dependent on the nest location or if the nesting falcons move to another location.

“The closure of these routes to protect falcons is strictly enforced,” said Russ Cash, resource program manager. “Climbers play a critical role in the success of falcon nesting at Devils Tower. Please report any nests or observed falcon behavior to a park ranger and remember that all climbers must register before beginning an ascent of the Tower.”


BLM seeks comments on proposed wild horse gathering

ROCK SPRINGS – A 30-day public comment period is now open on a Bureau of Land Management proposal to remove approximately 3,500 wild horses from public land in southwest Wyoming. 

The BLM has prepared an environmental assessment and opened a public comment period through April 30 on a proposed wild horse gathering on the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin, White Mountain, and Little Colorado herd management areas (HMAs). 

The environmental assessment proposes the removal of approximately 3,500 horses across the five HMAs. Non-permanent fertility control treatments would also be implemented. 

The appropriate management level (AML) for the five HMAs is between 1,550-2,165 horses. 

The BLM estimates that there are approximately 5,105 wild horses currently within the five HMAs. 

Appropriate management level is the number of wild horses that the BLM determines can exist in balance with other public rangeland species, resources, and uses in a given area. 

In addition to the proposed wild horse roundup, the BLM also analyzed a no-action alternative and three additional action alternatives that include a variety of other fertility control methods. 

Public input is valuable during any analysis, according to the BLM. People can review the EA and provide comments on the BLM’s ePlanning website at https:// eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/ project/1501993/510. 

All comments, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While people may ask that their identifying information be withheld from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so. For more information, contact Spencer Allred at 307-352-0367.


Sheridan man sentenced for possession of child pornography

SHERIDAN – Judge John Fenn sentenced Kyle Reuter to seven to nine years in prison on one count of sexual exploitation of children.

The charge stemmed from an incident in which Reuter's girlfriend at the time thought she had seen child pornography on one of his electronic devices. Reuter allowed law enforcement to search the devices, on which at least one child pornography video was found.

While Reuter has said he didn't know the inappropriate material was on his devices, he pleaded guilty to the charge in February. During the change of plea hearing he said repeatedly he just wanted to move on with his life. 

In court Thursday he repeated that he didn't know the child pornography was on the devices, but said he'd take responsibility since he owned them.

This is the third time Reuter has been convicted of possessing child pornography. The prior convictions occurred in 2010 and 2011.


Gillette woman pleads guilty to attempted 2nd-degree murder

GILLETTE — A woman accused of shooting her estranged husband at point blank range in their kitchen in November 2019 faces at least 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted second-degree murder.

Paulette Iliff, 55, had been charged with attempted first-degree murder in a case that had faced delays because of the pandemic and was scheduled for a 10-day trial starting May 17.

But a plea agreement was reached late last week in the case in which the attempted first-degree charge was reduced to second-degree. Attempted first-degree murder carries a penalty of life in prison or death. Attempted second-degree has a penalty of 20 years to life.

As part of the plea agreement, attorneys in the case are jointly recommending Iliff be sentenced to 20 to 28 years in prison.

Attempted second-degree murder does not include pre-meditation as first-degree does, but considers that she “purposely and maliciously” attempted to kill another human being.

Also as part of the agreement, a count of aggravated assault and battery was dismissed and prosecutors will not file any drug-related charges for “items” found in her vehicle or home, according to court documents.

Robert Iliff was shot in the chest early Nov. 11, 2019, at the home he shared with Paulette Iliff. The bullet entered his chest and exited near his left armpit.

Robert Iliff told police that his wife shot him when he arrived home that morning after spending the night at a friend’s house. A few days earlier, he had told her he wanted a divorce after 30-plus years of marriage. That divorce was recently finalized in District Court.