Murder in Wyoming
By Brandon Lucus
It was a cold dark evening in Rock Springs, Wyoming. The sun had just set, the snow had just ceased and Cindy was just returning from a long day of running errands.
As Cindy approached the front door she notices a set of foreign footsteps imprinted in the snow leading to the back of the building....
This was no ordinary building, this was the mansion of the, now disabled, richest man in all Wyoming. Cindy was his caretaker and after 25 years of service she had become more like his surrogate daughter.
....Curious about the footsteps she followed them frightened to what she would discover. As she approached the backdoor, with exception to the footprints in the 3 inches of fresh powdered snow, she noticed nothing out of the ordinary. She returned to the front door, an entered the house.
"Jeffery?!", she yelled from the front door.
Now at the bottom of the stairway, "Jeeeffery?!", she yelled.
Still, no answer.
The only answer Cindy was receiving was the eerie echo of her own voice bouncing off the, overpriced, painting-covered walls of the mansion. Cautiously she made her way to the kitchen, grocery bags still in hand. Ane with the flick of the lights she discovered what she had feared since she saw the footsteps. Jeffery's limp body lied on the kitchen floor in a semi-dry puddle of his blood. Jeffery had three bullet wounds, two to the chest and one to the middle of his forehead. Crying hysterically, Cindy called the Rock Springs police department who promptly arrived to the mansion, the only thing they did right the whole time they were in charge of the investigation. From then on she was treated like the prime suspect, when really she would be one of the main people that would want to see him survive at least another day.
You see, Jeffery was a widower whose wife died just six months earlier from overdosing on sleeping pills. He disowned his daughter shortly after her death. His daughter was the District Attorney of Rock Springs and accused him of the death the death of her mother. Although she, as the DA, never formally charged him with the death, he disowned her and was planning on removing her from his Will making Cindy, the caretaker, his primary beneficiary rather than his daughter.
From the start the police department practiced awful investigating skills. They overlooked the footsteps leading to the rear of the mansion and out to the woods. Most believed this was done on purpose but there were a chosen few that believed, oddly enough, that the footprints had no connection to the murder. The murder weapon was found in the kitchen next to the body. The weapon was a revolver, a six-shooter, which Jeffery had for protection when he had a family living with him. The revolver was really the only connection that the police department could make between the murder and Cindy. But Cindy claims that she had never seen or knew about the gun. If true the only living person with knowledge of the pistol was the DA.
Corruption was running rampant through the whole case, and it appeared the DA had somewhat of a grudge against Cindy. Could you blame her?? Cindy had in fact taken her place as Jeffery's daughter. The DA filed murder charges against Cindy two days after the murder with really no hard evidence implicating her a worthy suspect. Most of the city of Rock Springs backed the DA and all of her decisions; after all she was a "grieving" daughter that had lost her mother and now her estranged father all in less than seven months. But the State Attorney, who to the DA's demise was looking into the case himself, saw the candy coated corruption.
After interviewing Cindy, the State Attorney found that she had a solid alibi that could be supported with both a receipt, the clerk working the cash register, and the pharmacist. Also from the interview the State Attorney found out about the cover up of the footsteps leading to and from the estate.
All this was unacceptable by the State Attorney's standards, and with the revelations that he received from his interview with Cindy. He decided that the State would take over the case and restart the whole investigation.
As the State Attorney got deeper and deeper into his investigation he found out more and more about the history between the DA and Cindy. Finding out more information on the grudge the DA held against Cindy and, moreover, her father, and the pending changing of the Will, scheduled to take place the next day the DA was shocked. With his newfound information he filed charges against the DA. All of Rock Springs was shocked. Their beloved DA, a murder? All the new developments created a loud buzz throughout Rock Springs, throughout Wyoming, but the end was far from near.
The state police, who had taken who had taken over the investigation made a shocking surprise of their own. Pictures of the footprints Cindy had spoken of in her interview, were locked away in the Rock Springs police department headquarters. The pictures were placed into a fake, unknown file and were never spoken of.
With corruption spewing from throughout the seams of this case it appeared that the State took over the case just in time.
The investigation into the DA was well underway and all signs appeared to be pointing straight to her. She had the motive; she wanted the estate, she had a grudge against the suspect, she had a grudge against the victim, and she had no alibi. No alibi that is until her estranged, now married husband came forward and stated that he and the DA were having dinner together the night of the murder. They, in his words, "were attempting to rekindle their broken relationship." This, in no way deterred the State Attorney's suspicion into the DA. But now that she appeared to have a solid alibi, he would have to look deeper into her life and acquaintances.
Doing so the State Attorney found a connection between the DA and a hit man, a convicted murderer. Their connection goes back 20 years when the DA was a young fierce public defender, and she defended him in a contract murder trial. Although he would end up serving time in prison, she was successful in having the jury convict him of manslaughter rather than first degree murder. The contract killer-hit man was released from prison two weeks prior Jeffery"s murder. The State Attorney also found out that the DA had contacted the hit man seven times in the week following his release. This was just the beginning, while further investigating the hit man the State Attorney found that he had no alibi, put large deposits of money into his bank account a week before, and another large deposit three days after the murder. With all of this information seemingly falling from the sky into his lap, the State Attorney clamored to file charges against both the DA and the hit man.
The DA was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and the hit man with
first-degree murder. The "everybody knows everybody" trait of the small Southwest Wyoming town made jury selection for both cases a hassle, so the two defendants and the prosecutors agreed to move both trials to Cheyenne, in southern Wyoming.
The two trials made news headlines across the country. But the trial of the DA was watched closer than the trial of the hit man. The DA had a much more successful and much more flamboyant attorney than that of the hit man. The flamboyancy of the DA's attorney and the DA herself made that particular trial a lead story for Court TV, CNN and other prestigious national news programs.
The DA's trial lived up to its theatrical expectations with quite a bit of hollering, the never ending pounding of the gavel, and even seeing the cold hearted DA, some say staged, breaking down into tears. The DA's trial lasted two and a half months. But the jury only needed three days to deliberate their verdict. The DA was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to twenty years in prison, without a chance for parole. She was also denied bail, which she requested to assist in preparing an appeal.
The hit man's trial was a much more low profile case. It lasted only a month and the jury deliberated for only a day. He was found guilty, but because of his well established, much talked about insanity, he was ordered to be detained in an asylum for no less than five years, many in Rock Springs and across the country felt that he received a lighter sentence than he deserved.
The State attorney, and the prosecutor in the DA's case were satisfied with both the sentences and in an interview the State Attorney stated he was more concerned with the conviction of the DA than that of the hit man.
Cindy was rewarded with the estate, just as Jeffery had intended. However, within three months after the final trial of Jeffery's murderers, Cindy sold the mansion, and most of the other estate items, packed all of her personal belongings and moved south to Denver, Colorado. She continues to work as a maid to the wealthy and even started her own maid service. In all her life she would never go through anything like her experience in the final two months of her life in Rock Springs, Wyoming.