Man Accused of Making Terroristic Threats Near Laramie Pleads Not Guilty By Reason of Mental Illness
A Massachusetts man accused of threatening to take a shotgun to the Wyoming Department of Transportation Driver Services Building south of Laramie and shoot any peace officers who tried to intervene pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness or deficiency Monday in Albany County District Court.
Stephan M. Murray, 34, entered the plea on one count of making terroristic threats. He could face up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.
Court documents say a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper was dispatched to the WYDOT Driver Services Building May 19 after workers said Murray got upset and threatened employees before evidently taking off.
When the trooper arrived, employees told him Murray said he would return to the building with a shotgun and shoot any law enforcement officer that tried to stop him, according to the affidavit.
Officers in the area were notified to be on the lookout for Murray, and law enforcement guarded the Driver Services Building. Murray was later apprehended, and has been in custody since.
Court documents say during an interview, Murray told a trooper he did not remember allegedly threatening WYDOT employees, but he may remember saying something about a shotgun.
Murray allegedly told the trooper he had better be released, or his “people” would come get him and the “town would go down in flames.”
Judge Jeffrey Donnell said Monday a trial date would be set later on pending the outcome of a mental evaluation.
A previous mental evaluation ordered by Albany County Circuit Court determined Murray is fit to proceed through the court system, but a second exam will be conducted to evaluate Murray’s mental state at the time of the incident.
Donnell declined Monday to modify Murray’s bond at the request of defense attorney David Korman, who said the $25,000 cash bond is beyond Murray’s means.
“I have concerns about the risk of flight and danger to the community,” Donnell said, adding that it is not uncommon for people to take medication for a short time and then stop.
Korman told the court Murray now voluntarily takes medication prescribed by the Wyoming State Hospital during the first evaluation.
Murray said he was previously charged with simple assault in Farmington, New Hampshire, but was not convicted.
Donnell said he will see about having Murray’s next evaluation conducted in Laramie rather than Evanston.