Magistrate John Botten has filled in this past week for Judge John Sampson in Sheridan County Circuit Court. Thursday afternoon, 18-year-old Chad Gardner of Buffalo made his initial appearance on an Aggravated Burglary charge. Court documents allege that on January 15th, 2010, Gardner entered the home of Sheridan resident Dale Gleason and stole the prescription drug Trazodone from Gleason's kitchen cupboard, and a .40 caliber Hi-Point pistol from a locked gun cabinet in the basement.
Aggravated Burglary is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than twenty-five years, a fine of not more than $50,000, or both. Botten set a $3,000 cash bond on Gardner, and instructed him that he is to have no contact with Gleason and several other people listed in the charging documents. His case will be heard in 4th Judicial District Court.
And a colorful character named John Arthur Brown was in Circuit Court Thursday. Brown was finally found in Oregon after fleeing two counts of Felony Larceny for stealing a 1994 Ford 3/4 ton pickup and a 1997 Honda TRX 300 all-terrain vehicle from Michael Helvey sometime between July 17th and July 23rd, 2007.
Prosecutor for the State, Dianna Bennett, indicated to John Botten that Brown had about twenty to thirty pages of criminal history dating back to the 1970's, with convictions in at least ten different states, including the Huntsville Prison in Texas. He had not been out of jail long in 2007 when he went to work for Helvey as a hired hand on Helvey's ranch. During the dates in question, Helvey had gone out of town, and when he returned, determined the two vehicles were missing and that Brown had packed up and left.
In September of 2007, Brown had gone before Circuit Court Judge John Sampson, but apparently after his release on bond, he fled. Bennett told Botten that when Brown was found in Oregon, he refused extradition back to Wyoming, and it took a Governor's warrant to bring him here.
As she relayed the information to Botten, Brown became very angry in court, using foul language and calling Bennett names that can't be broadcast or printed. Brown's verbal abuse prompted Botten to set a $15,000 cash bond on him, with a warning to get his behavior in check before he goes before Judge John Fenn District Court in the coming weeks.