Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Marcus Huff
Staff Writer 

Investigator, victim testify

Felony stalking case continues today


October 24, 2017

WORLAND - A jury was seated Monday in the case of State of Wyoming versus Joshua D. Vidlock, of Worland, for one count of felony stalking, by breaking the bonds of an Order of Protection. The Honorable District Court Judge Robert E. Skar is presiding.

The defendant, represented by attorney Collin Hopkins of Riverton, stands accused of illegal contact with his ex-wife, Charlene Sherman of Worland, after an order of protection was filed with the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court on Feb. 15, 2017. The charges in this case were filed on March 15, 2017, less than a month after the original order was granted.

As argued by Deputy Washakie County Attorney Anthony Barton in his opening statement, a narrow exception to the original protection order (allowing text messages to schedule child custody hours) was exploited by Vidlock to include “full blown contact with Ms. Sherman which led to her to become fearful of Mr. Vidlock.”

“The court gave Mr. Vidlock an inch and he took a mile,” Barton said as he addressed the jury.

As indicated by the state, the protection order was in reference to a previous case of domestic violence.

Opening for the defense, Hopkins noted to the jury that “a couple things will become important [in the case]. The first would be an ‘anonymous’ tip on March 15 that led to the [police] interviewing Ms. Sherman.”

The defense then stated that Vidlock was himself on the verge of reporting child abuse against a member of the Sherman household, when the anonymous tip was received by law enforcement indicating Vidlock had violated his terms of the protection order.

For the prosecution, witness Worland Police Department Investigator Kent Lombard testified that on the morning of March 14, he had received an anonymous report that Vidlock had violated his protection order, to which he reviewed the order and contacted Sherman to come in for an interview.

During the day, Lombard was forwarded a call from Vidlock, who stated that he wished to come in and file a report of child abuse against one of his daughters with Sherman. (The couple have two biological daughters together.)

Later that day, Lombard interviewed Sherman and her children at the police station, and attempted to photograph over 150 text messages Sherman had received from Vidlock. During the process, Vidlock sent another set of two to four texts to the phone.

Lombard also testified to interviewing Sherman’s three children, and finding no indication of abuse.

Although Vidlock never met with Lombard personally, the investigator received an affidavit on March 15, from Vidlock, claiming child abuse and referencing an incident at an unspecified Worland school.

Lombard found no indication of the school incident and ended the investigation.

Under cross examination by the defense, Lombard was asked if he could name the anonymous source that reported Vidlock’s protection order violation.

“Yes,” replied the officer. “It was Bob Vines [Washakie County Witness and Victims Coordinator].”

Before a recess for the defense to review evidence, the state introduced over 60 pages of cell phone texts, from Vidlock and Sherman’s phones.

After recess, Sherman was called to the stand on behalf of the state, and testified to her previous marriage and children with Vidlock, his relationship to her teen son and their two biological daughters, and the circumstances leading up the original protection order.

At one point, Sherman noted that Vidlock had entered her home while returning their daughters from a visit, which was clearly prohibited by the protection order.

As the state introduced the cell phone text messages as evidence before the jury, broadcast on an overhead screen, Sherman described each one, and the circumstances.

Among the dozens of texts indicating drop-off and pick-up time for custody of the children, Vidlock included a photo of a woman he was allegedly dating, a message that he found the protection order “ridiculous,” a reference to keeping their text messages out of the courts, and references to Sherman wanting “control.”

At least four times during the exchange of texts, Sherman requested Vidlock stop texting, even sending photos of the protection order several times to emphasize the sentiment.

The trial resumes at 9 a.m. today, at the Washakie County Courthouse.

If convicted, Vidlock could face possible imprisonment for up to 10 years.


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