From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 4 - April 22, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Felony assault case transferred to Teton County prosecutor

by Janet Montgomery

Transfers from both the Sublette County Circuit Court and County Attorney's office has Teton County hearing and prosecuting an aggravated assault case as well as a misdemeanor case of breach of peace and threatening phone calls, which allegedly resulted in a Pinedale man being life-flighted to Salt Lake City for treatment.

Solon J. Bing, who is charged with felony aggravated assault, and Jeramiah W. Fitzgerald, who is charged with two misdemeanors, breach of peace and threatening telephone calls, have preliminary hearings set for April 22 at 11 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectively, in Teton County Circuit Court. Both Bing and Fitzgerald are currently listed as inmates in the Sublette County jail.

Circuit Court Judge John Crow removed himself from the cases with a transfer order to Teton Circuit Court Judge Timothy C. Day.

Monday, the Board of Sublette County Commissioners opted to assign the two cases to special prosecutor Steve Weichman of the Teton County Attorney's office in Jackson.

In a letter to the commissioners requesting the county to appoint a special prosecutor for the two cases, Sublette County Attorney Van Graham wrote that these cases will involve an employee of the county attorney's office and will also involve her daughter and husband.

Graham also wrote, "(The employee) certainly is not criminally implicated in this matter, but her involvement and the involvement of her family makes it inappropriate for this office to prosecute these cases."

Weichman was out of town and not available for comment.

According to criminal information filed on Fitzgerald, Sublette County Sheriff's Office Deputy Dan Jensen responded to a residence on South Lincoln in Pinedale on April 13 to take a report on an alleged assault and battery.

Jensen reportedly met with Bing and Fitzgerald, and Bing claimed that Stephen Manning had battered him. Fitzgerald was extremely angry and pacing the floor, making threatening remarks about what he was going to do to Manning, according to the documents.

Deputy Brian Sparks interviewed Stephen Manning's spouse, who told him that Fitzgerald had allegedly called her residence twice, looking for Stephen Manning, and allegedly saying, "When you see him, tell him he's dead," according to the documents. Manning's spouse also claimed that she knows the voice of Fitzgerald and can identify him as the person making the threatening calls, the court documents said.

According to the documents, a bartender reported that Fitzgerald came into the bar looking for Manning and saying that he intended to kill Manning. Fitzgerald called dispatch looking for Manning, and allegedly told dispatch that if the sheriff's office did not take care of this situation, he would find Manning and mess him up, according to the documents.

Sparks was also dispatched to a North Franklin residence in Pinedale concerning an alleged assault against Manning, according to criminal information filed on Bing. Sparks arrived to find Manning lying on the living room floor with bruising and two closely spaced puncture wounds on his forehead. Manning was conscious and told Sparks that he and Bing had had an altercation in the home, and that Bing had hit him in the head with a claw hammer, according to court documents.

A claw hammer was found, according to court documents, and Bing was placed in custody at 11:33 p.m. and transported to the Sublette County jail.

Manning had serious injuries and was life-flighted to Salt Lake City for treatment.

Felony aggravated assault carries a maximum sentence of up to10 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $10,000.

Breach of peace is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months, and a fine of not more than $750, or both. A threatening telephone call is a misdemeanor that is punishable by imprisonment for not more than a year, and fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

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