Casper Man Pleads Not Guilty to Attacking Witness in Drug Case
A Casper man pleaded not guilty to attacking a witness in a drug investigation during a hearing in Natrona County District Court on Tuesday.
Shane Mitchell Patrick also pleaded not guilty to delivery of methamphetamine and battery in the same case.
Influencing or intimidating a witness is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Delivery of methamphetamine is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.
He is facing charges in two other cases, and was out on bond when the altercation occurred at Galloway's, 2976 CY Ave., on Dec. 22, Assistant District Attorney Trevor Schenk said at the hearing presided over by Judge Kerri Johnson.
The case started when an unnamed witness told police that Patrick allegedly approached them about 1:30 a.m. in the casino area of Galloway's, accused them of being a police informant and wearing a "wire," and shoved them violently, according to an affidavit filed by Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent.
A person who was with the witness intervened and began fighting with Patrick, according to the affidavit. "Based on the surveillance footage, [the person] clearly defended witness from Patrick, and were it not for his actions, Patrick likely would have continued his assault on witness."
After Patrick was jailed, the DCI agent obtained a message from a Facebook account in which he said he hit the witness.
In a telephone call recorded in the jail, Patrick told another man that if he sees the witness he should "on-site" the witness, meaning assault the witness.
"Witness is a material witness in an investigation involving Patrick, and Patrick is aware of witness' involvement, and has made several statements indicating that to other co-conspirators and during monitored jail phone calls," according to the DCI affidavit.
During December, DCI agents bought methamphetamine from Patrick in a controlled buy, according to the affidavit.
Tuesday, these other alleged crimes were the focus of a request to change the bond.
When Patrick made his initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court, that judge set his bond at $25,000 cash only.
Patrick's public defender Joseph Cole asked Johnson to convert the bond to a cash or surety bond because the controlled buy was a routine part of an investigation, that Patrick is on medication to control mood swings, he's trying to get into treatment, and that he would be "on a short leash" if released on bond.
"Twenty-five thousand is excessive," Cole added.
But Schenk responded the bond is appropriate because Patrick was released on a $7,500 cash or surety bond in one case and was released on a $2,500 cash or surety bond in another case.
Patrick sold the methamphetamine while free on bond, and the recorded phone calls from the jail show that he wanted to threaten the witness, Schenk said. "He was given the opportunity to be in the community."
Johnson agreed and kept the bond at $25,000 cash only.