By Shane Sanderson
Via Wyoming News Exchange
CASPER — A Casper man told detectives he broke into his parents’ house early Tuesday morning to steal from them, and when he encountered his mother he shot her once, according to court documents.
Police arrested Andrew Steplock, 27, in Colorado on Wednesday morning. Court documents filed that day indicate prosecutors intend to charge him with three felonies, including second-degree murder.
Steplock, who is being held in Colorado while he awaits extradition, also faces charges in Wyoming of aggravated burglary and unlawful possession of a deadly weapon.
The documents, filed in Natrona County Circuit Court, offer the most comprehensive depiction yet of prosecutors’ understanding of the alleged crime.
When police arrested Steplock last week on suspicion of marijuana possession in a house owned by the railroad, he had a gun with him, the documents state. The charging documents associated with that arrest do not make reference to the gun.
Monday morning, Steplock showed up uninvited at his parents’ house and got into an argument with his mother, the documents state family members told police. After he asked her for money, she told him to clean up dog excrement in the yard. He did not do so due to poor weather but asked his mother for the money. She gave him a “small amount” of money and he took a shower, the documents state.
While he was in the shower, Steplock’s mother removed a key to her house from his keychain and replaced it with a fake one, the documents state. She then told her son that he was not welcome to come by uninvited.
Security camera footage shows Steplock knocking on the door of a neighbor’s house at about 4 p.m. the same day, the documents state. When the neighbor came to the door, he said he had the wrong address and left in a green SUV owned by his mother, according to the documents.
Steplock’s aunt and uncle had previously lived at the house, the documents state.
Tuesday morning about 1 a.m., police headed to the 10th Street house for a report of a burglary alarm that had gone off. While officers were on their way, a man called 911 from the house and said Deborah Steplock, 58, was unconscious and bleeding, the documents state.
When police arrived, they identified her head injury as a gunshot wound, according to the documents. Police detectives found a broken window in the rear of the house. Deborah Steplock’s husband, Albert, told police he went to bed before his wife on Monday night. He woke to the alarm alerting, went downstairs and found Deborah Steplock on the floor. The house’s back door was open, as was the garage door, the documents state.
An ambulance took Deborah Steplock to Wyoming Medical Center and medical staff placed her on life support. Family members told Andrew Steplock to go to the hospital to be with his mother but he “declined further contact,” the documents state.
By 1:38 p.m. Tuesday, Deborah Steplock was declared brain dead.
Police said Wednesday she had indicated she wanted to donate her organs and was being kept on life support for that purpose. A police spokesman said late Thursday afternoon he did not know if she remained on life support.
When police tracked Andrew Steplock’s phone, they found it was in the area of the crime scene at the time of the shooting, the documents state. Law enforcement tracked Steplock’s phone, and two Casper detectives drove to Colorado, following Steplock. Colorado authorities and the two Wyoming detectives found the SUV in the parking lot of a gas station near Loveland, Colorado. Steplock was inside and he was “taken into custody without incident,” the documents state.
He told police he had a gun in the vehicle, the documents state.
In an interview with the two Casper detectives, Steplock said he decided while driving around Tuesday morning to break into his parents’ house and steal their money, the documents state. He tried to use his key on the front door but it didn’t work, the documents state he told police.
After breaking out a window on the back door, he unlocked it and went inside, the documents state he told police. He said his mother, who was in the living room, asked him what he was doing, according to the documents. He then shot her once in the head, the documents state he told detectives.
Steplock drove to Cheyenne and then Colorado, where he fell asleep at the gas station, the documents state he said.