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Wyoming News Briefs FEBRUARY 6

Man pleads guilty to 2018 murder

LOVELL (WNE) — A little more than two years since the murder of Carol Jean Barnes, suspect Donald Joe Crouse appeared in Big Horn County Fifth Judicial District Court late in the afternoon of Tuesday, Jan. 28, to change his plea to guilty

Crouse appeared with his attorneys Diane Lozano, Brandon Booth and Timothy Blatt. Big Horn County Attorney Marcia Bean and deputies Kim Mickelson and Jennifer Kirk appeared on behalf of the state.

The change of plea came as a result of an agreement, with the terms being laid out by Booth. Crouse would plead guilty to first degree murder and serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

According to the agreement, Crouse acknowledged that he was fit and of sound mind to enter into the agreement.

Booth told the court Crouse has been advised of the nature of the charges and the possible consequences.

In return, Bean is withdrawing pursuing the death penalty. She told the court that she is withdrawing an allegation in the felony information that Crouse was a habitual criminal, citing there was no basis for the allegation.

In a factual basis, Crouse admitted to stabbing Barnes on Jan. 4, 2018, which resulted in her death. Booth asked Crouse if it was done purposefully as laid out in the allegations.

“Yes it was,” said Crouse.

Crouse admitted in the factual basis that the act was premeditated through journal entries that he wrote.


Man arrested with 12 pounds of meth

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 66-year-old Gillette man was arrested last week for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute after he was found to be in possession of 12 pounds of suspected meth.

Raymond Carnahan was arrested Friday morning after leading law enforcement on a lengthy chase that began in Gillette but ended 20 miles north of town.

Carnahan has been the subject of a lengthy drug investigation involving the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, Gillette Police Department and the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation.

He was driving a tan GMC Terrain when the police officers tried to stop him, and he fled the area. Deputies found him shortly after on Gold Road, according to a press release from DCI.

Carnahan fled again and led deputies on a high speed pursuit around the Gillette area before traveling north on Highway 14-16 and then north on Highway 59.

After about 30 minutes, the Sheriff’s Office disabled the vehicle using spike strips in the area near Burnt Hollow, 20 miles north of Gillette. Carnahan was arrested after a short foot pursuit, in which Carnahan tried to get rid of a backpack.

The search of the GMC and the backpack resulted in the seizure of about 12 pounds of suspected methamphetamine and 3 ounces of suspected cocaine, along with a suspected drug ledger and other drug paraphernalia.

Carnahan was arrested for possession of meth with intent to distribute, and he also was charged with reckless driving and fleeing or attempting to elude police.


Enzi, Barrasso ask USDA to provide beet assistance

POWELL (WNE) — U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take immediate action to support local sugar beet farmers affected by adverse weather.

“The past two years have been devastating for cooperative farmers working in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming due to significant weather events,” the senators wrote in a Jan. 30 letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Enzi and Barrasso — along with Democratic and Republican senators from the other affected states — say the USDA needs to act quickly so Western Sugar Cooperative farmers can obtain operating loans for the coming growing season.

Their letter asks the USDA “to take immediate action” to assist Western Sugar by implementing the sugar beet eligibility provisions within the Wildfire, Hurricane, and Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). Under WHIP+, eligible producers can receive payments from the federal government to help cover losses from natural disasters.

“Since its inception, this program has been essential for farmers during adverse weather growing seasons,” the letter says.

Congress modified the WHIP+ program last year to capture losses to both the quantity and the quality of the sugar beet crop. The senators say the federal payment program “provides the necessary path forward for the cooperative.”

Western Sugar board member Ric Rodriguez has said that aid could come as a mixture of grants and low-interest loans. He said in January that last fall’s harvest “will go down as one of the toughest that growers have been through in the years.”


Buffalo game warden named Safari Club ‘officer of the year’

BUFFALO (WNE) — Buffalo Game and Fish Warden Jim Seeman has been named 2019 Shikar-Safari Wildlife Officer of the Year for Wyoming.

According to a Wyoming Game and Fish press release, Shikar-Safari Club International awards the honor annually to one warden in each state and Canadian province. The award honors outstanding performance and achievement.

Seeman said he was pleasantly surprised to receive the award after feeling honored to be nominated.

“To be nominated was a big deal,” Seeman said. “To get it is even bigger.”

Seeman has worked for Game and Fish for 27 years, beginning his career in 1992 as a reservoir crew patrol officer, and he was subsequently promoted to a warden trainee, according to the release.

His district game warden assignments included the Casper, Cody and Sheridan regions. Seeman transferred to the Buffalo game warden district in 2006, according to the release.

“Jim is known as a steadfast protector of Wyoming's wildlife and throughout his career has been known as a skilled investigator and talented interviewer,” Wyoming Game and Fish Department chief game warden Rick King said in the press release. “His diligent enforcement efforts are not restricted to high profile species; all wildlife is important to Jim.”

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