Casper Man Denies Kidnapping, Strangling Woman
The man who was arrested in late May after allegedly assaulting a woman and running from law enforcement pleaded not guilty to two felony charges brought against him Friday morning in Natrona County District Court.
Damon Flanagan, 47, faces charges of aggravated kidnapping and strangulation of a household member. If convicted of both counts, he could be sentenced to 25 years to life plus five years in prison and have to pay $20,000 in fines.
According to court documents, a man called 911 on the afternoon on May 30 and said he saw another man -- Flanagan -- throw a woman into the back of a van in the 1200 block of South Cedar Street.
Officers responded to the area, but couldn't immediately find the van. An officer found it near the Sunrise Shopping Center at 4:14 p.m. and tried to stop the vehicle.
The van did not immediately stop, but eventually pulled over at the intersection of Grenada and Poplar.
The officer got out of his patrol car and approached the van. He saw the victim banging on the rear window of the van, screaming for help.
As the officer approached the van, Flanagan allegedly shifted into drive and took off, continuing north for about four blocks before stopping again in the 2800 block of South Poplar.
Other officers arrived on scene and opened the driver's side door of the van, ordering Flanagan to exit. Flanagan reportedly remained in the driver's seat, so officers pulled him out of the van and took him to the ground, taking him into custody.
Flanagan was taken to an interview room at the Casper Police Department. The victim was treated by EMS and taken to Wyoming Medical Center.
The victim later told police she and Flanagan had been fighting throughout the day and Flanagan -- who reportedly was jealous and constantly accused the victim of cheating -- got angry when the victim asked another man for a cigarette.
Flanagan allegedly grabbed her and forced her into a van. The victim thought Flanagan might drive them off a cliff to kill both of them. She believed she was going to die, according to charging documents.
She recalled police pulling up behind the van on Poplar, and she thought Flanagan would run because "he alway did when the police tried to stop him," court documents say. The victim got to the rear window of the van and yelled for help, and was relieved to see police officers.
The victim now resides in another state.
Flanagan's public defender, Kurt Infanger, asked Judge Thomas Sullins on Friday to reduce Flanagan's bond from $50,000 cash or surety to $25,000 so that Flanagan could work inside the jail.
Infanger emphasized the requested bond reduction was not an effort to allow Flanagan's release, saying Flanagan does not have the means to post either amount.
Assistant District Attorney Daniel Itzen responded by saying bond is set to ensure the defendant's attendance throughout court proceedings and to protect the community; whether or not a defendant is allowed to work while incarcerated should not factor into the determination of a bond amount.
Itzen also noted that in the past, Flanagan has failed to appear at six court hearings and has failed to comply with bond conditions or other orders on five occasions.
Due to the seriousness of the offense, Sullins declined to reduce Flanagan's bond.
Trial in the case is set for Sept. 18.