By Clair McFarland
Via Wyoming News Exchange
RIVERTON — A 21-year-old Fremont County woman is facing manslaughter charges after telling a Riverton Police Department detective that she used a knife to attack a man.
Rachelle Lynch, who is a lifelong resident of the county, appeared in Riverton Circuit Court Thursday morning to hear the two counts of manslaughter, each of which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The second of the charges alleges that “voluntarily, upon a sudden heat of passion (Lynch) killed a human being.”
Lynch’s arrest followed a call to police at 3:22 Monday afternoon, in which the caller had reported a male “passed out” behind a trailer, in a mobile home park at 1315 South Federal Boulevard in Riverton.
The officer who responded to the scene soon discovered that the male – later identified as 20-year-old Joshua Friday – was deceased.
An RPD detective arrived at the address, and found Friday lying on his right side, “in the back yard of 1315 S. Federal Blvd; SPC 42.”
There was a clean-edged hole 1.5 inches in length in his right lower abdomen, the court affidavit states.
Drops of blood and shoe tread patterns of the same shape as Friday’s shoes led the detective from space 42, where Friday was found, to space 28 in the mobile home park.
The detective interviewed people in the area, including Rachelle Lynch, who soon stated that she, Friday and another person had been drinking alcohol together in space 28, early on the morning of Oct. 8.
She said that Friday had started to beat her, and tried to drag her out of the vehicle in which they were drinking. He hit her near her right eye as well, Lynch told police.
A witness stated that Friday punched Lynch several times.
Lynch told the detective that she was angry with Friday because of the beating, so she left him and went into the trailer in search of a weapon. She grabbed a knife, court documents state, and went outside and swung the knife at Friday.
A knife fight was reported to RPD at around 5 a.m. that morning at the same address, but officers who responded did not discover anyone brandishing knives at the time.
An autopsy has not been completed on Friday’s body, but the detective wrote that “the apparent stab wound to his torso is the cause of his death.”
Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen said an autopsy is scheduled Oct. 11.
Riverton Circuit Court Judge Wesley A. Roberts advised Lynch of her rights and read the charges at her initial court appearance Thursday morning.
Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun recommended a bond of $50,000 cash only, saying that Lynch had no noteworthy criminal history, and that the evidence suggesting that Friday had beaten her prior to the incident also provided some bond leniency.
“However,” LeBrun said, “I still think there should be a significant cash bond,” as well as no contact allowed between Lynch and witnesses and other parties to the case.
Roberts told the defendant that “the merits of the State’s case appear to be very strong,” and, after establishing that Lynch is a lifelong Fremont County resident, with family in the area, the judge placed bond at $100,000 cash-only, pending further proceedings.
“I do not think you are a high risk of flight,” to a greater extent than another person charged similarly, but the charges are still serious enough to set the higher bond, Roberts said.