Bar Nunn Man Avoids Jail Time After Abusing, Endangering Grandparents
A man who admitted earlier this year to repeatedly threatening to kill his grandparents will avoid jail time after receiving first-offender treatment during a Wednesday morning sentencing hearing in Natrona County District Court.
Jesse DeWitt, 21, received first-offender treatment on his conviction for felony abuse of a vulnerable adult. District Judge Daniel Forgey placed DeWitt on one to five years of supervised probation and deferred further proceedings.
That means prosecution of the charge is deferred and will be dropped, assuming DeWitt successfully completes his probationary term.
On a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangering, Forgey sentenced DeWitt to 127 days in jail with credit for 127 days already served, meaning DeWitt will not face any time behind bars on that count.
Natrona County District Attorney Mike Blonigen said the victims, DeWitt's grandparents, wanted DeWitt to receive first-offender treatment on the felony.
However, Blonigen said he had questions about the degree to which DeWitt recognized drug use as a contributing factor in the crimes.
"I am very concerned that he has understated his issues with substance abuse," Blonigen told Forgey, saying that DeWitt should be ordered to complete any counseling -- such as a criminal thinking class, anger management or substance abuse treatment -- recommended by his probation officer.
Blonigen also asked that DeWitt be ordered to have no contact with the victims pending a mental health evaluation. In sentencing DeWitt, Forgey included the no-contact order, except as permitted by DeWitt's probation officer.
Earlier this year, Dewitt's 83-year-old grandfather went to the Natrona County Sheriff's Office for help, saying he believed DeWitt was using drugs, which had caused DeWitt to become more aggressive toward his grandfather and 78-year-old grandmother.
The grandfather said DeWitt had threatened to kill them about 50 times in the previous few months, adding that he wanted DeWitt arrested on an outstanding warrant in order to get him out of the house and sent to prison.
The warrant, though, was for a misdemeanor charge of failure to comply, and would not have resulted in a prison sentence.
On May 30, a deputy responded to the house in Bar Nunn, and the grandfather told the deputy about another threat. DeWitt was arrested.
DeWitt's then-girlfriend later told the deputy that she and DeWitt had lived at the house for the previous two months, and she saw DeWitt intimidate or threaten to kill everyone who lived there "every day," according to court documents.
A month earlier, she had seen DeWitt pull and handgun from his waistband and, while holding it at his side, threaten to kill his grandparents.