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

By Marcus Huff
Staff Writer 

Ten Sleep man headed to trial for shooting

 

March 7, 2019



BASIN - A Ten Sleep man held on $500,000 cash bond in Basin on three felony counts after a shooting incident on Feb. 3 at the HiWay Bar and Café in Manderson has been held over for a jury trial in Fifth Judicial District Court.

Michael Duane Verry, 70, was arrested in Billings, Mont., on Feb. 21, following his release from a Billings hospital. He is currently charged with one count of attempted first-degree murder, one count of attempted second-degree murder and one count of aggravated assault and battery.

According to an earlier interview with Big Horn County Sheriff Ken Blackburn and Deputy Craig Shidler, shortly after 10 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, Verry opened fire on the bartender and owner of the HiWay Bar and Café in Manderson.

No one was injured from the shots, and Verry escaped.

Law enforcement, including Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office, Washakie County Sheriff’s Office and Wyoming Highway Patrol attempted to locate Verry Sunday night, Feb. 3, but were unsuccessful.

A passerby on Highway 31 located Verry’s 2002 Ford ¾ ton pickup off the side of the road on Monday, Feb. 4. Verry had allegedly rolled the vehicle at milepost 13 on Wyoming Highway 31.

Verry was located underneath of the pickup with his right hand and arm pinned underneath. He was extracted from under the vehicle, transported to South Big Horn Hospital and then later life-flighted to a Billings hospital where he recovered until his arrest on Feb. 21.

In court on Monday in front of Magistrate Randy Royal, Verry showed signs of the recent amputation of his right arm, due to the accident, as Big Horn County Attorney Marcia Bean argued the state’s case to find probable cause for the first-degree attempted murder charge.

State witness Big Horn County Deputy Craig Shidler, a former National Rifle Association handgun instructor, took the stand to testify to his investigative findings, being the responding officer on the scene the night of the incident.

After inspecting the scene and interviewing HiWay Bar owner Justin Rollins, Shidler determined Verry had arrived at the bar at approximately 3 p.m. on Feb. 3 to watch the Super Bowl and had finished six Miller beers and two White Russians before being cut off by Rollins at approximately 10 p.m.

After refusing Rollins’ offer to stay in a cabin on the property, Verry retreated to his truck, and Rollins assumed he was leaving. Stepping out of the bar, Rollins noticed Verry had pulled up parallel to the bar’s entrance. After announcing “Hey, Justin,” Verry reportedly aimed a handgun in Rollins’ direction with both hands, out the window of his pickup.

Rollins retreated into the bar and told the bartender to hit the floor, as Verry fired four shots into the front of the building. Verry then drove around the side of the building and fired three more shots in the direction of the drive-thru window.

Deputy Shidler identified for the court the location of the seven shots as they hit the building, with one doing interior damage right above where Rollins had laid on the floor, seeking cover.

Shidler also verified that after the discovery of Verry’s wrecked vehicle the following morning, officers found a seven-shot Taurus .380 handgun, matching the slugs found in the wall and framing of the HiWay Bar.

Shidler concluded that there was no known motive for the shooting.

Ryan Healy of Sheridan, attorney for the defense, argued that that there was no premeditation for the first-degree attempted murder charge, due to Verry showing the willingness to leave before the shots were fired, while County Attorney Bean argued that premeditation is defined as any amount of time before confrontation, including seconds, and the use of a weapon proved malice in the case.

Healy then argued that lack of motive showed no probable cause for the first-degree charge, and evidence showed that Verry did not plan the shooting.

Without hesitation, Judge Royal declared the court found probable cause for all of the charges, and bound the case over to the district court, date to be determined.

In the meantime, Judge Royal also denied a reduction in bond, holding Verry on the original $500,000 cash bond pending trial, despite Verry’s lack of a serious criminal record.

Verry is scheduled for further amputation to his arm this Friday in Billings, and will be under guard by Big Horn County law enforcement officers while under medical care and recovery.

 
 

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