Casper Man Pleads Guilty to Four Aggravated Assault Charges
A Casper man could face up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of aggravated assault, including two counts of pointing a gun at police officers, during a change of plea hearing in Natrona County District Court on Tuesday.
Jessie Joe Contreras, 38, quietly entered the pleas before Judge Thomas Sullins.
In exchange for the pleas, Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen said the state agreed to dismiss four other counts at sentencing.
Itzen also recommended two 4.5-year to 7.5-year prison terms for the first two counts of aggravated assault to run concurrently, and two 4.5-year to 7.5-year prison terms also to run concurrently.
However, both groups of terms will run consecutively, he said, meaning the total recommended punishment would be nine years to 15 years.
Public Defender Rob Oldham said he agreed with the terms of the plea agreement pending the results of the presentence investigation. A sentencing date will be set later.
Contreras remains in custody on a $500,000 cash or surety bond.
He previously pleaded not guilty to the aggravated assault counts, aggravated kidnapping, burglary, possession of a deadly weapon with unlawful intent, and possession of marijuana as a third or subsequent offense.
Contreras was arrested July 17 after police responded to a trailer home in the 1200 block of N. Elma St., for a reported weapon offense, according to court records.
A woman there told police that she had been dating Contreras for nearly a year and living with him in his apartment. She said that Contreras used methamphetamine, was often angry and became physically abusive toward her.
About July 13, she left Contreras and went to stay at the trailer home on North Elma with an old boyfriend.
On the night of July 16, the victim's three children arrived at the trailer to visit. One of them told Contreras the woman was staying in the trailer.
The morning of July 17, Contreras entered the trailer with a handgun. He first pointed it at the woman, grabbed her and pointed the gun at the owner of the trailer, who got up from the bed and wrapped a blanket around himself.
Contreras then said, "watch this," and fired the gun once at the owner of the trailer. That man fell to the floor, and the woman believed he had been shot. However, he was uninjured.
The woman ran from the trailer to a nearby apartment building. Contreras found her immediately and grabbed her by the arm, telling her to go back inside the trailer.
She told police that Contreras made her help him load a van, and after about two trips out to the van, police officers arrived and Contreras ran out the back of the trailer.
Officers chased him and found him running south down an alley, still holding the pistol. One officer drew his gun, ordered Contreras to stop and drop the pistol. Contreras then spun to his left, pointing the pistol at two police officers and visibly "flexing his finger between the trigger guard and trigger."
Contreras never took a shooting stance, and ultimately gave himself up.
An evidence technician later examined the gun which Contreras had possessed, and found there was a round in the chamber.
In an interview with police following his arrest, Contreras gave multiple versions of the incident. Police collected biological evidence from Contreras.