Wyoming News Briefs SEPTEMBER 25
September 19, 2019
Riverton man arrested in 36-year-old ‘cold case’
RIVERTON (WNE) — A Riverton man was indicted Friday for a murder that occurred 36 years ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Willie Moore, 61, appeared in Lander Circuit Court Monday morning to face his extradition.
Erlene Gayle Lee, 58, of Texas, also was arrested on Friday.
After hearing the charge of first-degree murder from Circuit Court Judge Robert B. Denhardt, Moore said, “I didn’t have nothing to do with that.”
According to the Tulsa Police Department cold case file, on Sept. 18, 1983, Anthony Baltes was found deceased inside a motel room in Tulsa, having been tied up and subject to “blunt-force trauma.”
Robbery was the suspected motive. Baltes’s vehicle was discovered near the scene.
Tulsa-area media reports indicate that Baltes was seen leaving a nightclub with a woman in her 20s the night of his death.
The office of Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed a press release Friday crediting DNA technology with the identification of the two suspects.
“Anthony Baltes died a horrible death 36 years ago,” Hunter wrote, “but that passage of time doesn’t mean those responsible aren’t going to be held accountable.”
Fremont County Undersheriff Mike Hutchison said Oklahoma authorities have been in touch with his office regarding Moore’s case for roughly two years and that, when Moore was first named as a possible suspect, sheriff’s deputies interviewed him about the case.
After the interview, Moore remained in the area, and Hutchison said there were no challenges involved in the Friday arrest.
Man pleads guilty to 2003 Laramie killing; guilty plea to manslaughter avoids murder trial
LARAMIE (WNE) — A 41-year-old man who fatally shot a man in a Laramie parking lot in 2003 pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter on Tuesday morning.
Fidel Serrano had appeared on an FBI’s Most Wanted List while he was on the lam for more than a decade.
After being brought back to Wyoming in 2018, Serrano was charged with first-degree murder. A five-day jury trial was scheduled to begin Monday.
Instead, prosecutors dropped the murder charge in exchange for Serrano pleading guilty to manslaughter, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent told the Laramie Boomerang that the family of the victim, Ramon Galvan-Morales, was agreeable to the plea agreement.
Two days before Serrano killed Galvan-Morales, the two had gotten into a fight at a dance in Cheyenne, witnesses told police.
The pair had been former co-workers at Rocky Mountain Forest Products on Laramie’s West Side. Serrano killed Galvan-Morales in the parking lot of the factory, which closed in 2007.
Serrano, who immigrated illegally from Mexico, had been working at Big Horn Lumber during the morning of May 12, 2003, the day he killed Galvan-Morales.
During his Monday lunch break, he drove to Rocky Mountain Forest Products, where Galvan-Morales was eating lunch in his van.
Armed with a semi-automatic rifle, Serrano confronted Galvan-Morales in the parking lot.
According to witness reports, Galvan-Morales grabbed a semi-automatic handgun from his van before Serrano opened fire.
Galvan-Morales was fatally stuck in the chest by two bullets, but managed to fire off a few shots at Serrano before collapsing and dying.
Honor Camp escapees still at large
GILLETTE (WNE) — Two inmates who escaped from the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp in Newcastle have yet to be found.
Sources have verified that a 2002 Ford 150 extended-cab work truck was stolen from the city of Newcastle the night of the escape. The tan truck has a white flatbed and tool boxes on the sides with a yellow mini light bar on the roof and unit #71 on the cab on both sides near the doors.
Inmates Jason Green and Robert Simpson were discovered missing from the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp in Newcastle at 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
Green, 48, is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and about 170 pounds with white and gray hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing brown tortoiseshell eyeglasses. He has no distinguishing scars or tattoos.
He is serving a sentence for larceny and was sentenced in 2015 to three to eight years.
Simpson, 30, is 5-10 and about 165 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. He has a scar on the bridge of his nose, on his right forearm and on the left hand. He has a tattoo of a domino and hellcat on his right arm with other tattoos on his chest, abdomen and back. He was last seen with a beard and sometimes has black eyeglasses.
He is serving a sentence for aggravated burglary with a weapon. He was sentenced in 2012 to five to 15 years.
It is believed that the inmates left the facility with a black Lab mix dog. Simpson was assigned to the Project Love Dog Program prior to his escape.
Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of the inmates is asked to contact local law enforcement.
Zamora’s court appearance postponed
DOUGLAS (WNE) — The former bookkeeper for the Douglas and Glenrock senior centers was due in district court Sept. 18, but the case was abruptly continued as a sizeable crowd gathered in the courtroom to hear the latest in the embezzlement case.
The Converse County Attorney’s Office did not provide details as to why the scheduled change of plea hearing and a pretrial conference were continued.
Marnie Zamora, 43, was charged with forgery and theft which allegedly occurred while she was employed as the bookkeeper for the senior centers. Those charges were filed September 2018, more than a month after her employment with the Converse County Aging Services Board was terminated.
She is charged with embezzling nearly $96,000 from the aging services, which runs the two centers, but officials have also blamed her for failing to pay the center’s taxes for more than a year, leaving them owing the Internal Revenue Service $321,000 plus interest and penalties.
Zamora is also facing check fraud charges that were filed last February. Law enforcement allege that sometime after September 2018, she knowingly issued two or more checks which were not paid due to insufficient funds. No new hearing dates had been set as of press time.
F.E. Warren colonel relieved of command
CHEYENNE (WNE) – Based on the contents of a recent climate survey, Lt. Col. Nicholas Petren has been relieved of his command of the 90th Security Forces Squadron at F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
Col. Damian Schlussel, commander of the 90th Security Forces Group, relieved Petren due to his inability to maintain a “healthy command climate,” according to a news release.
It was also unlikely the climate would improve under Petren’s command, and it was in the best interest of the airmen in the Security Forces Squadron for the change of command to take place, public affairs officer 2nd Lt. Emily Seaton told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on Monday. The change was effective Monday.
“The Air Force values and encourages a positive work atmosphere where all airmen are treated with dignity and respect and cannot condone leadership actions that do not uphold these ideals,” the release stated.
A temporary commander was put in charge of the 90th Security Forces Squadron until a permanent replacement can be found. Petren was assigned to a different position at the base until he rotates to another location.
Petren’s new position wasn’t known, Seaton said, and due to the Federal Privacy Act, the actions Petren took that caused an unhealthy command climate cannot be disclosed.
A healthy command climate is one that fosters trust and confidence in an airman’s job, Seaton said. It’s also a climate that fosters teamwork and is one where people feel valued.