Wyoming Supreme Court Rejects Appeal Of Mills’ Man Conviction Of Multiple Felonies
The Wyoming Supreme Court denied an appeal of a Mills man who went on a crime spree ending with a high-speed chase through Casper in August 2016, and was later sentenced to more than a half-century in prison.
Doyle Gabbert was sentenced year ago to a total of 57 to 73 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to one count of methamphetamine conspiracy and found guilty of eight felony counts including aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, larceny, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a deadly weapon with intent to threaten the life of another.
He was arraigned a month after his August 2016 crime spree, and Gabbert pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect.
After a three-day bench trial in March 2017, District Court Judge Catherine Wilking found him guilty of the eight felony counts.
Wilking also dismissed his defense attorney's claim that he should be found not guilty be reason of mental illness.
Gabbert, she said, knew what he was doing during the crime spree in August 2016 when he shot at a man driving a pickup; and two days later when he pointed a gun at two people in the parking lot of an east-side grocery store, stole another vehicle, led law enforcement on a chase through Casper, and was taken into custody after he tried to steal a truck.
Gabbert, in his appeal, said Wilking erred in that decision.
The Wyoming Supreme Court opinion noted the district court ordered an evaluation after Gabbert pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness.
During the evaluation at the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston, forensic psychologist Dr. Alex Yufik found Gabbert did not have a mental illness or deficiency, and that he understood the wrongfulness of his conduct. Yufik also diagnosed Gabbert with "'antisocial personality disorder'" and an "'amphetamine-type substance disorder.'"
Gabbert did not ask for a second evaluation by an examiner of his choice, which state law allows.
He didn't change his not guilty plea during his bench trial, and Wilking dismissed that when she found him guilty of the eight felony counts.
The Wyoming Supreme Court wrote that to establish the not guilty by reason of mental illness defense, Gabbert had to prove that he acted "(1) as a result of mental illness or deficiency, (2) he lacked substantial capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law."
The Supreme Court, like Wilking, focused on whether Gabbert knew what he was doing was wrong.
It noted he knew he had violated his parole, the police were looking for him, he repeatedly ran from the police, and lied to his parole agent.
The Supreme Court also relied on the psychologist.
Yufik's examination directly contradicted Gabbert's assertion of mental illness, and the doctor testified he was mentally responsible for his actions, according to the opinion. "'(Gabbert) still understands that these actions are ilegal and society may also consider them to be immoral.'"