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Judge halts Albany County sheriff replacement

LARAMIE (WNE) — Albany County District Court Judge Tori Kricken issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday afternoon halting the process to select a replacement sheriff until late November.

State Committeeman Ken Chestek, representing the Albany County Democrats, told the Boomerang that arguments on the merits of the party’s lawsuit against the Albany County Commission are scheduled for next month.

“We’re basically on hold until the end of November,” he said.

The dispute between the Albany County Democrats and the Albany County Commission began after Sheriff Dave O’Malley, a Democrat, notified the commission that he planned to retire Jan. 2. His current terms runs through 2022.

On Sept. 15, the commission acknowledged receipt of a notice of retirement. The following day, the commission notified the county party of the vacancy, initiating a 15-day period for the party to name three replacement candidates, with a deadline of Oct. 1. The commission must select a replacement sheriff within five days of receiving the three names.

Chestek said that because O’Malley plans to remain in his position until Jan. 2, the position isn’t actually vacant and thus the process is improper. The lawsuit, filed by attorney Megan Hayes Sept. 28 on behalf of the party’s central committee, seeks a declaration that no vacancy exists until O’Malley’s retirement takes effect, and thus the 15-day process should begin Jan. 3. Hayes argues that Commission chair Terri Jones isn’t authorized to initiate the replacement process and the commission is acting outside its authority.


Man sentenced in 10-year-old shooting

CHEYENNE (WNE) — A 29-year-old Mexican citizen was sentenced Thursday to three to five years in prison for his involvement in the shooting of three people here a decade ago.

Laramie County District Judge Catherine Rogers sentenced Eduardo Reyes-Mejia, who had pleaded no contest, during a virtual hearing Thursday morning.

Reyes-Mejia was 19 at the time that he opened fire and wounded three people at a private residence in Cheyenne. Erik Linares-Cuevas, who pleaded no contest to aggravated assault in connection with the incident in 2011, identified Reyes-Mejia as the shooter.

Reyes-Mejia, who is likely to face deportation now that he has received his sentence, was not arrested for his involvement in the crime until April of this year for reasons that were not immediately clear Thursday. He was charged with second-degree attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon and bodily injury.

Rogers said that after reviewing the facts in the case, she can see how the state would have had a difficult time bringing the case to trial, especially because witnesses who identified Reyes-Mejia as the shooter could not be located.

Nonetheless, Rogers expressed concern about allowing him to serve three years of supervised probation, which the state recommended as part of Reyes- Mejia’s plea agreement.

“This is a very violent crime with a victim who was reported to have received multiple gunshot wounds to the head, chest, abdomen and extremities,” Rogers said.

Rogers did not accept the state’s recommendation for probation and instead sentenced Reyes-Mejia to prison.

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