Suspects in Casper Arson, Burglary Bound Over For Trial
Two homeless men were bound over for trial on arson and burglary charges, Natrona County Circuit Court Judge Michael Patchen ruled at a preliminary hearing Thursday.
Isaiah Montiano-Like and Stacy Clark were arrested on June 1 and each charged with burglary and first-degree arson. They each could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted on both counts.
A date for their arraignment in Natrona County District Court will be set later. They remain in custody on $200,000 bonds each.
Police Detective Anthony Stedillie was the only witness called to testify during the preliminary hearing.
Stedillie told District Attorney Mike Blonigen a house in the 300 block of North Jefferson Street is owned by a man who has a security company where equipment is stored and regional sales people sometimes stay while they are selling products in the Casper area.
No one was at the house on the night of May 30, but Montiano-Like was familiar with the house because he briefly worked for the security company, Stedillie said.
Video surveillance outside the house showed the suspects arrive at the house about 9 p.m. with a gas can and a small cooler, he said.
They sat on the porch and talked (the video did not have audio). One got up, removed a swamp cooler from a window, crawled in and opened the door for the other man.
During the next hour, Montiano-Like removed a flat-screen television, a box with a radio-controlled helicopter, and a set of golf clubs. Clark was not seen carrying anything out until 11:31 p.m. when he and Montiano-Like walked out with plastic bags.
Five minutes later, the video shows smoke pouring from the house, he said.
The next morning, an employee went to the house and saw smoke when he opened the door and called 911. Investigators found significant damage in the basement where gasoline had been splashed and ignited, Stedillie said.
About 1:30 a.m. May 31, a police officer saw the men in the area of the 600 block of East Second Street reportedly carrying a flat-screen television and a set of "tree-loppers," but they were not apprehended.
About two hours later, another officer saw the men at an address on East Collins.
When interviewed by police, Stedillie said the men admitted entering the house, with Montiano-Like saying he knew a resident there. Clark told police he slept the entire time they were in the house.
The owner of the house and an employee said the two were not welcome, Stedillie added.
During cross-examination, Montiano-Like's public defender Kerri Johnson asked Stedillie if he had interviewed any other employees who used the house. Stedillie responded he had not, with Johnson saying Montiano-Like may have known others there.
Stedillie also said the house had no inside video surveillance.
Clark's public defender Curtis Cheney pressed Stedillie about Clark's behavior. Stedillie responded Clark was never seen taking anything from the house other than a plastic bag when both suspects left.
After Stedillie's testimony, Blonigen told Patchen that it was unknown who struck the match that caused the fire. But the evidence for the suspects' involvement in the burglary and arson was grounds for their being bound over for trial.
Johnson admitted there was probable cause that Montiano-Like was involved, but Stedillie should have interviewed more people who used the house.
Cheney said there was no evidence that Clark did anything other than being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Patchen agreed with Blonigen about bound Montiano-Like and Clark over for trial.