Natrona County Man Could Face Life in Prison for Saturday Shooting
A Natrona County man accused of firing several rounds into a home north of Casper early Saturday morning could face life in prison if convicted of the two charges filed against him.
Lyle James Clark, 43, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault. Each count, read to him by Judge Steven Brown on Tuesday in Natrona County Circuit Court, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
However, on each count, the Natrona County District Attorney's Office has charged Clark as a habitual criminal, which makes each count punishable by up to life in prison.
Clark's bond was set at $500,000 cash or surety.
Clark was arrested Monday after allegedly approaching a home north of Casper in the early hours of Saturday morning and firing several rounds through the residence while three adults were inside.
Charging documents say Natrona County Sheriff's deputies responded to 3468 N. Plateau Street for a report of shots fired at 1:16 a.m. Saturday. The reporting party and two victims said someone had fired six or seven shots into their bedroom through the window.
A deputy arrived and found several bullet holes in the window of the master bedroom. Several bullet holes were found in the sheetrock and bedroom door.
When the gunshots first began, the victims had been lying on their bed watching television. One victim had gotten up and walked toward his dresser to extinguish his cigarette when the bullets came through the window.
"If he had been lying on the bed where he was at prior to moving, he would have been hit by several of the bullets," the affidavit reads in part.
The family's cat was on the bed at the time of the shooting, and one bullet hit the cat in the face. The animal was later euthanized because of the injury.
Several empty bullet casings were found in the driveway of the house, and were identified as being from .22-caliber rounds.
Two intact, copper .22-caliber bullets were retrieved from inside the wall of the home and the interior bedroom door. A short time later, an investigator responded to the scene to investigate further.
Video from a neighbor's security camera system reportedly shows a small black car speed up to the victims' residence and stop before a man gets out of the driver's side and approaches the home, carrying a rifle. Shortly thereafter, the man gets back into the car with the rifle and takes off.
The investigator interviewed two victims and "learned that the only people who could have done this was their daughter... and her boyfriend Lyle Clark," according to the affidavit.
Court papers say the investigator has had several encounters with Clark over the past 16 years, and recognized Clark's "unique gait" as being similar to that of the man seen in the video.
At 1:23 p.m. Monday, three investigators contacted Clark at his job site, located at 833 W. 13th St. in Casper. After being told about the surveillance video, Clark allegedly admitted to driving his girlfriend's car up to the house and shooting into the bedroom window. He claimed his girlfriend, Lois Horgus, was with him at the time of the shooting.
Clark said he hated one of the victims as well as that man's son, adding that he had been drinking and smoking marijuana on the night of the shooting. He went on to tell investigators that they would find the .22-caliber rifle used in the shooting in a Ford pickup truck on his mother's property off U.S. Highway 20-26.
In an interview at the Natrona County Sheriff's Office on Monday, Clark allegedly told investigators that he and Horgus had been drinking Friday night into early Saturday morning, discussing about how one of the victims was abusive to Horgus when she was a child.
Clark claimed he decided to drive to the victim's house and shoot it up to "scare him," saying he never intended on killing the victim.
Clark told investigators that he later thought it was a "fifty-fifty" chance that he actually shot the victim.
Horgus told an investigator substantially the same story.
Clark was in custody as of Monday's court hearing. A preliminary hearing in the matter will likely be held within the next two weeks.