NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019


UW basketball player pleads not guilty to assault

LARAMIE (WNE) — A suspended Wyoming men’s basketball player has pleaded not guilty to assault and battery charges. 

Ny Redding, who’s facing two counts of simple assault and one count of battery, entered a not guilty plea in Albany County Circuit Court on Friday through his attorneys, according to court documents. The charges stem from his alleged involvement in a December incident at a Laramie bar. 

Redding also requested that his initial court appearance set for Feb. 14 be vacated and a scheduling conference be set for Feb. 21 prior to the case being scheduled for a jury trial, according to the documents. 

A senior point guard, Redding was suspended indefinitely on Dec. 12 after starting the Cowboys’ first nine games and has not been a part of any team activities since. Redding was originally issued a citation by the Laramie Police Department for disorderly conduct and inciting a fight following an incident at Roxie’s on Grand in downtown Laramie in the early hours of Dec. 9, but that was thrown out when the misdemeanor charges were filed against him in January.

Redding is accused of striking a female UW student, Molly Pickerill, in the face, leaving her unconscious. He also swung and nicked another student, Katie Schrater, in the nose. 

Redding is being represented by Megan Overmann Goetz, a lawyer with Pence and MacMillan LLC. Multiple messages left for Goetz at her office seeking comment have not been returned.

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Klingbeil trial delayed to August

CODY (WNE) — Dennis Klingbeil will have his trial postponed five months, to the one year anniversary of the night he is alleged to have murdered his wife.

That was the decision District Court Judge Bill Simpson came to Friday, deciding to postpone the Wapiti man’s trial from March 5 to Aug. 5. Klingbeil is accused of killing his wife Donna Klingbeil on Aug. 5, 2018, in their North Fork home.

“Given the gravity of this case, the stakes are high for everyone,” Simpson said. “I want to make sure we have a full and complete judgment.”

The delay comes on the heels of the state’s submission of a large docket of new evidence Jan. 25, seven days after the March trial date was set.

“We need to investigate further into some of the issues brought up by the new evidence,” Donna Domonkos, of Cheyenne-based Domonkos Law Office said over telephone speaker. “It’s too important to rush.”

Klingbeil officially waived his right to a speedy trial last week.

The new evidence that spans decades features verbal accounts from Klingbeil’s family members, which the state will likely use to prove a trend of premeditated malice exhibited by Dennis Klingbeil. Their accounts include stories of Klingbeil threatening his children’s lives, an instance where he placed a gun to his son’s head and other events where he threatened others with guns.

There are also details about an ongoing trust dispute between Dennis and Donna Klingbeil originating long before the night of the murder and various prior domestic disputes occurring between the couple.

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Thermopolis woman killed in wreck

THERMOPOLIS (WNE) — A Thermopolis resident died in a two-vehicle crash west of Thermopolis on Thursday afternoon. 

Candis Peterson, 37, was driving north in a 2011 Honda Pilot when she attempted to turn into a driveway on the west side of Wyoming Highway 120. Her vehicle collided with a 2014 Ford F-550 traveling southbound, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol. 

Peterson, who previously lived in Powell, was wearing her seat belt but succumbed to her injuries at the scene of the crash, the Wyoming Highway Patrol said in a news release. A juvenile passenger in the Honda was injured in the crash and transported to the Hot Springs Memorial Hospital. 

The driver of the Ford F-550 has been identified as 61-year-old Larry Houlihan of Billings, Montana. Houlihan was wearing his seat belt and was transported to the Hot Springs Memorial Hospital for injuries. 

The crash occurred at around 3:20 p.m. at milepost 5 on Wyoming Highway 120 west of Thermopolis. 

Driver inattention on the part of Peterson is being investigated as a contributing factor, according to the highway patrol. 

This is the 16th fatality on Wyoming’s highways in 2019. By comparison, there were eight at this time last year, nine in 2017 and six in 2016.

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Jonah Energy reorganizes, lays of 16

PINEDALE (WNE) — A “very depressed” natural gas market and gloomy forecasts brought about reorganization at Jonah Energy, leading the company to let 16 employees go last Thursday.

Of the 16 employees, 11 had worked in the Sublette County office and five were employed in Denver, Jonah Energy’s Director of Governmental Affairs Paul Ulrich said on Monday.

“We have strongly seen the need for the last few months to reorganize … to respond to very low natural gas prices,” he said. “The next five years’ forecasts are challenging to all gas producers in Wyoming. It means making some very hard decisions.”

Ulrich said the company decided to focus on “core operations in Denver and Pinedale” and the elimination of 16 employees in different positions would allow Jonah Energy “to remain competitive in the face of the longstanding downturn in natural gas prices.”

“We truly reorganized and a number of positions didn’t fit in with the reorganization and we had to eliminate those positions,” he said.

The company did provide the departed employees with severance packages that included short-term medical benefits and previously planned bonuses. As for the remaining employees, Ulrich said some changes were made to their “very robust” benefits packages “that simply brought us more in line with industry standards for paid time off and vacations.”

Ulrich added that Rocky Mountain natural-gas producers are facing “fierce competition” from regions where natural gas is an inexpensive byproduct of oil production; here producers are drilling just for natural gas.

Jonah Energy remains “very financially viable” and plans to continue with four rigs in the Jonah Field and begin exploratory drilling in the Normally Pressured Lance Field, Ulrich added.

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Wyoming this Weekend, Feb. 15-17

By The Wyoming News Exchange

Outdoor fun will highlight the weekend’s activities in Wyoming as the annual Pinedale Winter Carnival runs through the weekend.

Skijoring, snow sculpting, a race of cardboard sleds down a snow-covered hill and a kids snow-cross race will be just a few of the activities featured during the three-day event.

Other activities will include the Yukon Cornhole Tournament, a hockey tournament and the annual “Snow-Ball” with live music.

Other events scheduled for the weekend include:

A performance by True Munsick and the Innocents in Lander on Friday;

A performance by “Band of Outlaws” as part of the historic Sheridan Inn Winter Dance/Concert series in Sheridan on Friday;

The opening of a photo exhibit on “For the Love of Water, Then and Now in Fremont County” at Lander’s Pioneer Museum on Saturday;

A Pro Jackpots barrels, poles and roping competition at the Cam-Plex in Gillette on Sunday, and

A performance by the Whitney Center Jazz Orchestra in Sheridan on Saturday.

For more information on these and other events, visit the Wyoming Tourism Division’s website at TravelWyoming.com.