Enough evidence found for trial in caged-child case

2014-08-08T11:03:00Z 2015-01-23T21:53:18Z Enough evidence found for trial in caged-child caseThe Associated Press The Associated Press
August 08, 2014 11:03 am  • 

LARAMIE, Wyo. — Prosecutors have enough evidence to take a Wyoming man to trial on allegations of keeping a 7-year-old boy locked in an outdoor cage, a judge ruled.

The 38-year-old man’s case was transferred to district court Thursday after a preliminary hearing on charges of aggravated child abuse and felonious restraint.

Deputies said the child reported living in the 6-by-6-foot enclosure outside a home west of Laramie for three weeks, off and on. He said meals were brought to him in the cage and that he slept there overnight even when it rained.

The man’s attorney, Tom Fleener, argued prosecutors could not support the aggravated child abuse charge because there was no evidence of serious injuries.

“There is no bodily injury that this court has probable cause on, and there is certainly no probable cause for substantial risk of death,” Fleener said.

Prosecutor Josh Merseal argued the boy was malnourished, and a deputy testified he saw him pull a bag of potato chips from the trash and eat them.

Merseal said boy’s life was put at risk because he was left outside, exposed to the elements, in an area where mountain lions, coyotes and other predators roam. Inside the cage, deputies discovered a cot, clothing, books, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a five-gallon bucket, according to court documents.

“It’s just ludicrous,” Merseal said of the defense argument. “That is not how we raise our children.”

The boy’s mother faces the same charges. She waived her preliminary hearing and is awaiting arraignment in district court.

Authorities said the man was the boyfriend of the boy’s mother.

Neither has entered a plea. If convicted on all charges, each faces up to 20 years in prison. They are being held in lieu of $100,000 bond each.

The Associated Press typically does not identify abuse victims and is withholding the suspects’ names to avoid identifying the child.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More from the Gazette

Belgrade man found dead in Yellowstone

Belgrade man found dead in Yellowstone

10 minutes agoLoading…
Wyoming Senate advances powdered alcohol ban

Wyoming Senate advances powdered alcohol ban

2 hours agoLoading…
Wyoming, Halliburton agree to greater fracking disclosure

Wyoming, Halliburton agree to greater fracking disclosure

2 hours agoLoading…

Local health department seeks additional state nursing funds

7 hours agoLoading…
Wyoming has a love-hate relationship with feds

Wyoming has a love-hate relationship with feds

8 hours agoLoading…

Director of WIA plans retirement

21 hours agoLoading…

UW hires dean for engineering college

22 hours agoLoading…
Balow seeks to bring strength and stability

Balow seeks to bring strength and stability

22 hours agoLoading…
Bison hunt in Jackson Hole sets record

Bison hunt in Jackson Hole sets record

January 25, 2015 11:34 amLoading…

Obama methane plan draws little reaction in Wyoming

January 25, 2015 9:00 amLoading…

Committee hears conflicting testimony over 'right to try'

January 24, 2015 12:20 pmLoading…
UW surveys show high student satisfaction

UW surveys show high student satisfaction

January 24, 2015 11:00 amLoading…

Follow The Billings Gazette

Popular Stories

Get weekly ads via e-mail

Deals & Offers

Featured Businesses