Wednesday morning in 4th Judicial District Court, in what was to be a status hearing for Wyatt Bear Cloud, turned into a Plea Change.
Jury selection for 17-year-old Bear Cloud was to begin next Monday for his trial, as the second of three defendants accused of the shooting death of Sheridan businessman Robert Ernst August 26, 2009 in his home. Dennis Poitra, Jr. was found guilty of three counts last week – Felony 1st Degree Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Burglary, and Aggravated Burglary.
Bear Cloud changed his plea yesterday morning to Guilty on all three counts. Wyoming law states that even if two or more suspects were involved in a burglary involving a firearm and someone is killed by that firearm, all suspects are found equally guilty of the murder.
Sheridan County Attorney Matt Redle has indicated that Bear Cloud faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole and a minimum of life in prison with the possibility of parole on the murder charge.
A pre-sentence investigation will take place, and sentencing for Bear Cloud has been set for November 30th. Poitra, Jr.'s sentencing is scheduled to take place November 23rd.
The trial for the third defendant, 16-year-old Dharminder “Dhar” Sen, is scheduled to begin Monday, October 25th.