Wyoming News Update | SheridanMedia.com


Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment.

SLAIN TRAIN WORKER-THE LATEST

KEMMERER, Wyoming (AP) — A Utah man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole in Wyoming one year after authorities say he and his father killed a Utah rail line worker while on the run from police following the kidnapping of a mother and her daughters.

The 23-year-old Dereck James “DJ” Harrison was sentenced Wednesday in a court in the small town of Kemmerer, Wyoming near the Utah state line.

Harrison pleaded guilty last month to first-degree murder in the slaying of 63-year-old Kay Porter Ricks and avoided the death penalty.

Authorities say he and his father forced Ricks into his work truck, then beat him to death on their way to a remote Wyoming hideout where they were eventually captured.

Harrison’s father, Flint Harrison, killed himself in a Utah jail last year.

DJ Harrison was convicted last year in Utah for the kidnaping of the woman and her daughters. The women survived, but were beaten while kept in a basement. The Harrisons were fleeing police after that crime when they kidnapped Ricks.

NAGGING HUSBAND KILLING

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — A 54-year-old Wyoming woman has pleaded guilty to killing her husband who she said nagged too much.

Deborah L. Johnson, of Gillette, agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Johnson was originally charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 3, 2016, death of her 48-year-old husband, Brian P. Johnson. He was shot in the chest as he sat on the couch watching TV.

The Gillette News Record reports that prosecutors will recommend a 25- to 37-year prison sentence.

District Judge John R. Perry set sentencing for Aug. 1 and ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

Johnson remains in Campbell County jail.

When Johnson was arrested in 2016, she told police that she killed her husband to prevent him from further “nagging, nagging, nagging.”

WYOMING VETERAN AFFAIR CENTER

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A spokesman for a Wyoming Veterans Affairs says the care at a Cheyenne center has improved.

Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Medical Center spokesman Sam House told KGAB-AM Monday that veterans coming into the center can get a same-day appointment with a doctor or medical professional. The center has also implemented a review of operations to ensure improved care.

The changes follow a 2016 report that found that some Cheyenne center staff had manipulated a number of veterans appointments. House says the employees involved have been fired.

House invites veterans and families to give the center feedback.

BALLOT INITIATIVE-PROMISE

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Advocates of limiting the influence of money in politics have received approval to start gathering signatures in Wyoming.

The Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office certified the proposed ballot initiative sponsored and authored by the organization Wyoming Promise.

Wyoming Promise has 18 months to gather sand submit 38,818 valid signatures in order for the initiative to appear on the state’s November 2018 general election ballot.

Officials say the signatures must be obtained proportionally from 15 percent of resident voters in at least 16 of Wyoming’s 23 counties.

The proposed initiative would call on Congress to propose a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifying that the right of political speech is a right enjoyed only by natural persons and that Congress and state legislatures may regulate political contributions and spending.

NEW MEXICO BOWL

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Bowl will help kick off the college postseason on Dec. 16.

Organizers announced that the 12th annual game will take place at 4:30 p.m. EST. in Dreamstyle Stadium at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

The game will air on ESPN and ESPN Radio.

The 2017 Gildan New Mexico Bowl is scheduled to feature teams from the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA.

Last year, New Mexico posted its second bowl victory in a half-century, topping Texas-San Antonio 23-20 Saturday in the New Mexico Bowl.

WYOMING SNOW

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Winter storm warnings and watches have been posted for parts of Wyoming as a late spring snowstorm took aim at the state on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for the Bighorn Mountains in northern Wyoming and the Snowy, Sierra Madre and Laramie ranges in the southeast part of the state. Up to 2 feet of snow is possible in the mountains.

Rain was expected to change to snow at elevations as low as 6,000 feet Wednesday night.

The rain will add to runoff that is already swelling local streams and causing localized flooding. A flood watch is posted for parts of northern and east-central Wyoming.

The rain and snow could cause more landslides along roads, particularly in the Wind River Canyon.

BILLINGS POLICE SHOOTING

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office has identified a 30-year-old man shot to death by police.

Ryan Lowell had been shot Friday after approaching officers with a handgun. Billings Police Chief Rich St. John says Lowell fired at least one shot.

Police and Lowell had been in an hour-long standoff.

Lowell had been given medical aid by officers before being taken to the Billings Clinic.

The incident had happened on a Montana highway. Lowell’s girlfriend had called authorities saying her boyfriend was threatening suicide.

A police negotiator had been speaking to Lowell for nearly an hour before he fired at least one shot in the direction of officers.

St. John says four officers fired simultaneously at Lowell after he shot.

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