Casper Man Pleads Not Guilty To Threatening To Kill His Grandparents
A Bar Nunn man Wednesday pleaded not guilty to five felony counts related to making daily threats to kill his grandparents this spring.
Jesse DeWitt entered the pleas during his arraignment before Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey.
DeWitt, 21, is charged with two counts of intentionally abusing a vulnerable adult, two counts of threatening to use a drawn deadly weapon, and one count of possessing a deadly weapon with the intent to threaten the life of another.
If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 45 years of imprisonment.
Public defender Curtis Cheney told Forgey that DeWitt's family has asked him to lower the bond to a personal recognizance bond or a $5,000 cash or surety bond so he can get out of jail. Cheney added DeWitt has a minimal criminal history.
But Assistant District Attorney Trevor Schenk responded that DeWitt's initial bond was set at $50,000. At his preliminary hearing when he was bound over for trial, Circuit Court Judge Michael Patchen raised it to $200,000 because of the violent nature of the alleged crimes, Schenk said.
Forgey reset DeWitt's bond at $75,000.
The case started in May when DeWitt's 83-year-old grandfather went to the Natrona County Sheriff's Office for help, according to a deputy's affidavit
The grandfather said DeWitt had lived at his house in Bar Nunn for most of his life. In the past year, he believed DeWitt was using drugs and becoming more aggressive towards him and his 78-year-old wife.
DeWitt had threatened to kills them about 50 times in the previously few months, the grandfather said.
The grandfather only wanted the sheriff's office to arrest DeWitt on an outstanding Casper Police warrant to get him out of the house and be sent to prison.
But the deputy told the grandfather that the warrant was for a misdemeanor failure to comply, and DeWitt would not be sent to prison for that.
On May 30, a deputy went to the grandfather's residence where he told the deputy about another threat. The deputy realized the grandfather and his wife, both in frail health, feared for their safety.
The investigator went to the house and arrested DeWitt.
The next day, the investigator interviewed DeWitt's girlfriend.
The girlfriend said she and DeWitt had lived at the house for the past two months, and she saw him intimidate or threaten to kill everyone who lived there, saying, "'It happened every day,'" according to the affidavit.
A month earlier, the girlfriend saw DeWitt pull a handgun from his waistband, hold it at his side, and threaten to kill his grandparents.
DeWitt never threatened her, and usually made the threats to his grandparents when he did not get his way, the girlfriend said.
The girlfriend also said, "she had witnessed DeWitt throw food at (the grandfather), and yell and scream at both (the grandfather and grandmother) in the past numerous time(s) prior to the interview."
The grandparents later told the investigator they felt much safer after DeWitt was out of the house, according to the affidavit.