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By Zach Spadt
Staff Writer 

Manslaughter trial underway

Washakie County jury hears law enforcement testimony, 911 call

 

December 8, 2015



WORLAND — For Anthony Haire of Worland, April 13 was a good day — it was also the worst day of his life.

That’s according to Worland attorney Richard Hopkinson, who is representing Haire in a manslaughter trial.

Jurors heard opening arguments in the case Monday. Haire is charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment for events that occurred the evening of April 13.

In his opening argument, in the Wyoming Fifth Judicial District Court in Worland, Washakie County Attorney John Worrall said there is no dispute as to whether or not Haire shot and killed Jamye Don SoRelle, who is Haire’s step-father-in-law.

During the first day of the four-day hearing, Worrall played audio from the initial 911 call Washakie County Dispatched received at 9:05 p.m. April 13.

During the call, an emotional Haire can be heard describing his version of events — “I’ve just been shot at, a gentleman was shooting at me and I returned fire on him. I don’t know if he’s still breathing or not. He took a shot at me and I had to defend myself. I honestly think he’s dying. I didn’t know what to do, and I fired at him. He shot at my family. He shot at me and my wife. I don’t feel his pulse anymore. I don’t think he’s breathing. Oh god. Oh god. Did I kill him?”

Before the call concluded, Haire could be heard begging SoRelle to stay alive.

“It’s going to be OK Jamye. Keep breathing,” Haire said.

Court records

According to an affidavit of probable cause, the events stemmed from a parking dispute. Haire and his wife, Elizabeth, were grilling that afternoon. A family friend, Judith Cable (who will be called to testify) was also present. SoRelle, who lives yards away in a separate trailer on shared property, was also eating.

SoRelle abruptly left.

When Cable attempted to leave the residence, located at 1459 U.S. 20 S., she discovered that she was blocked in. According to the affidavit, SoRelle parked his red and black GMC Suburban and trailer to block the driveway such that no one was able to leave the property.

After attempting to contact SoRelle at his residence, Haire phoned him. Following a heated conversation, Haire, his wife and Cable went into the yard. The two parties encountered once again near a white 2001 Chevy Suburban that was on blocks.

At some point, Haire noticed SoRelle holding a stainless steel .41 caliber revolver across his body, before firing one shot in Haire’s general direction.

After the encounter, according to court records, Haire retrieved a black .40 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver from his brother’s 2003 red Hyundai. Haire then called out to SoRelle before “emptying” the .40 caliber handgun, firing 12 shots. SoRelle was struck eight times.

SoRelle was transported to Washakie Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 9:30 p.m.

Arguments

“Certainly, under any set of circumstances, no one contends that SoRelle fired his weapon,” Worrall told the court Monday.

Hopkinson argued that Haire acted out of fear during the events.

“Anthony was scared to death about the situation. It has wrecked his life. He has lost a friend, but he lost that friend because of his concern over what was going to happen to him and his family if Jamye shot that gun again toward their house.

Hopkinson spoke from Haire’s perspective.

“And I see the chrome on that gun, and I’m afraid that he’s going to shoot right into my house, and that scares me. So at that time, I raise up mine. I take a shot, then a second later, two, three four, five six…” Hopkinson said.

“I will show you what the evidence will demonstrate through the eyes of Anthony Haire,” Hopkinson said.

Hopkinson said, SoRelle, who had been drinking, said he was being disrespected by Haire.

Worrall argued that Haire had a duty to retreat, and that his life wasn’t in immediate danger.

“Once he arms himself, Mr. Haire turns around and sees Mr. SoRelle walking toward his vehicle. He was almost there. He had his keys in one (hand) and his revolver in the other,” Worrall said.

The affidavit alleges that Haire said he thought SoRelle was getting into his vehicle in order to move it before the shooting occurred. SoRelle was found near his keys, as if he was holding them before being shot, according to the court records.

Washakie County Sheriff’s Deputy Austin Brookwell recalled the events on the stand Monday. Brookwell was one of the law enforcement officers who responded to the scene. Brookwell said he placed Haire in investigative custody. Haire was then transported to the Washakie County Law Enforcement Center for questioning.

Brookwell noted that the red and black GMC Suburban was parked oddly.

“It would have been impossible to leave without it being moved,” Brookwell said.

13-member jury

Before opening arguments were heard, a 13-person jury with seven men and six women was selected from a pool of Washakie County residents. Twelve jurors will determine whether or not Haire is guilty of manslaughter, with the 13th person serving as an alternate. The alternate juror will not know that he or she is an alternate until arguments regarding the case have concluded.

The trial will resume today at 9 a.m. If convicted, Haire faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $10,000 or both.

 
 

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