BREAKING: Judge Finds Mills Man Guilty of Eight Felonies
A Natrona County District Court Judge on Wednesday found a Mills man guilty of eight felony charges, which coupled with a designation of being a habitual criminal, could mean he probably will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Judge Catherine Wilking issued her ruling about Doyle Gabbert immediately prosecutor Dan Itzen and public defender Kerri Johnson gave their closing arguments at the end of a three-day bench trial.
Gabbert, 37, was charged with one count of aggravated robbery, three counts of aggravated assault, two counts of larceny, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of possession of a deadly weapon with intent to threaten the life of another.
Convictions on these counts means possible scores of years of imprisonment.
But before the trial, Itzen and Johnson agreed if Gabbert were found guilty, the judge could declare him a habitual offender on the aggravated robbery and aggravated assault charges because of two prior felony convictions, resulting in 10 years to 50 years of imprisonment on each charge.
Wilking did just that.
"The state has met its burden of proof that Mr. Gabbert is a habitual offender," she said.
On the other hand, Wilking said Johnson did not meet is burden of proof that he should be found not guilty be reason of mental illness.
Gabbert knew what he was doing when he shot at a man driving away in a pickup, and when he pointed a gun at two people in the parking lot of an east-side grocery store, Wilking said, citing a doctor who testified in the case.
Gabbert, she added, admitted he would not have committed his crimes if he knew a law enforcement officer was present, and his actions and statements proved he knew what he was doing when he was hiding from police.
Wilking asked Itzen to prepare a pre-sentence report. A sentencing date will be set later. Gabbert, whose bond was set at $1 million, is now being held without bond.
When the trial started Monday, Johnson asked for leniency because of Gabbert's social disorders and the use of methamphetamine to self medicate.
“This case is about perceived threats,” Johnson said. “If he did commit any offenses, it was because he was protecting himself.”
The case began Aug. 10, when a man was driving a pickup east on 11th Street and approached the intersection of Payne Avenue on his way to his home on Trigood Drive.
The man testified he nearly T-boned Gabbert's sport utility vehicle, an argument ensued and Gabbert shot out the pickup’s rear window and hitting the front windshield.
On Aug. 12, Gabbert pointed a gun at a man and a woman in the parking lot of Ridley's grocery store on Southeast Wyoming Boulevard.
Gabbert got a ride, was dropped off at the Hobby Lobby parking lot, where Gabbert ran to the Hilltop Storage units, dropped his gun and a towel, scaled a fence, and stole a van.
Multiple law enforcement agencies pursued Gabbert through Casper, and saw him turn north on North Center Street.
Gabbert crashed the van into a fence on North Wolcott Street, ran south on an alley to the Loaf ‘N’ Jug store on North Center Street, and jumped into the cab of a Coca Cola tractor trailer.
Law enforcement officers surrounded the tractor. Gabbert refused to come out. A K-9 officer jumped into the cab and bit him in the left shoulder. The dog’s handler then pulled Gabbert out, took him to the ground, and handcuffed him.