Long-term probation recommended in accidental shooting
July 4, 2019
RAWLINS – Just after Scott David Drumm said he was “shocked” and “willing to accept my consequences” when he realized he may have accidentally shot somebody, a judge on Monday recommended he receive long-term probation in lieu of prison time.
“I was firing the SKS,” Drumm admitted. “It was stupid.”
Carbon County District Court Judge Dawnessa Snyder delivered the recommendation after calling the prosecution into her chambers for more than an hour before regular court proceedings commenced.
From this, the defense would eventually strike a plea bargain that ultimately dropped five counts against Drumm, as well as several counts against fellow suspect John Henry Lee Stilley.
“(The bullets) hit a house where a lady was in the kitchen with her baby,” Stilley admitted while before the judge. “I haven’t seen it, but I believe it.”
“Was your backstop sufficient?” Snyder asked Stilley of his target.
“In retrospect?” Stilley responded. “No, ma’am.”
Drumm, 50, Stilley, 75, pleaded not guilty on Aug. 20, 2018 to several felonies after being picked up for a target practice gone wrong incident last year that left a Riverside woman with a bullet wound in her leg.
On July 30, 2018, according to court records, Drumm and Stilley were shooting rifles on a property in Encampment. Using a 9mm, a .22 and a 1954 Russian-made SKS, the two were firing at a stacked pyramid of wooden logs while perched atop a vehicle that sat 61 yards away.
Through a subsequent investigation, some of those bullets reportedly penetrated the logs, then a tree line 27 yards behind the target. They eventually struck house that sat 524 yards away from the tree line, in the town of Riverside.
When the bullets riddled the residence, a woman feeding lunch to her infant child caught a projectile to her femur. Instead of going into shock, however, the victim immediately took her child from the booster seat, crawled into a different room and called 911.
She eventually would undergo surgery at Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie to remove the bullet. The infant child was unharmed.
Once Drumm and Stilley caught word that they may have accidentally shot the woman, they waited for authorities to arrive and they were arrested without incident, according to court records.
But in the charging process, Drumm and Stilley argued that the state had made a mistake: Former county attorney Cal Rerucha had charged them with “attempted involuntary manslaughter,” a law that doesn’t exist under the Wyoming Constitution.
Joshua Merseal, Stilley’s lawyer, argued in court last month that, “You can’t specifically intend to act involuntarily.”
Up until Monday, meanwhile, the only evidence produced by the state has been a 9mm slug from the house and more recently the SKS projectile from the victim’s leg. Anything else is based on former verbal accounts, or “404 (b) evidence.”
The accounts allege that Stilley was confronted by authorities in 2015 after complaints were made about him firing weapons in the area. This is why Stilley and Drumm called for a complete dismissal of the case last month.
Instead of throwing out the case, Snyder recommended that Drumm, in exchange for a guilty plea to one felony count of aggravated assault, receive two years of supervised probation and a stayed prison sentence of 3-5 years.
For Stilley, he was recommended to receive five years of probation with a stayed prison sentence of 3-5 years in exchange for a guilty plea to one count of felony property destruction.
According to Ashley Mayfield Davis, Carbon County attorney, the victim has agreed to the punishments.
“She is in favor,” Davis said.
A pre-sentence investigation for both suspects has been ordered.
The recommended sentences for Stilley and Drumm can still be overturned by the court, said Snyder. If so, Drumm and Stilley can withdraw their plea agreements and take the case to trial.
A sentence hearing is set for 90 days from Monday.