Casper Man Pleads Not Guilty to First Degree Sexual Assault
A Casper man pleaded not guilty to two first-degree sexual assault charges in Natrona County District Court on Wednesday related to an incident that allegedly happened in December.
Steven Asbill, born in 1971, also pleaded not guilty to a single count of third-degree sexual assault during Wednesday's arraignment.
While Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey did not explicitly read Asbill's charges Wednesday morning, the nature and punishment were consistent with first-degree and third-degree sexual assault. First-degree sexual assault is punishable by between five and 50 years in prison while third-degree sexual assault is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
According to a heavily redacted affidavit of probable cause, the alleged victim called police Jan. 2 and said Asbill sexually assaulted her the morning of Dec. 22. The alleged victim and Asbill lived together, court documents say.
On the morning of the alleged incident, Asbill told the alleged victim that he was going to have sex with her before getting into a bed with her and pulling her pants down. When she fought back, Asbill allegedly said "I'm not f------ kidding."
Court documents say the alleged victim told detectives she quit fighting back because a 4-year-old was nearby and the woman feared for the child's safety.
Marty Scott, Asbill's public defender, said on Wednesday that the alleged victim wrote a letter to attorneys in the case stating she no longer wished for charges to be pursued, so Asbill should have his bond reduced. It was initially set at $25,000 cash only.
However, Assistant Natrona County District Attorney Kevin Taheri said while he was aware of the letter, he had not met with the alleged victim as of Wednesday's hearing. A meeting had been set up but the alleged victim did not go to it.
And, in cases of domestic violence and sexual assault, prosecutors don't always drop charges at the request of the alleged victim, Taheri added.
Taheri noted Asbill allegedly admitted the allegations to detectives in a Jan. 2 interview.
According to the affidavit, the alleged victim told police she was "very afraid" of Asbill, who owned several firearms. Court documents say Asbill made statements to the effect of, "It will be over soon," following the incident.
Court documents further allege Asbill recalled the alleged victim fighting back at first during the assault, being emotional and saying no. She eventually relented, however.
Asbill's bond was modified to $25,000 cash or surety before the hearing concluded.