Judge approves Whitman pretrial motions

Courtesy image

SUBLETTE COUNTY – A flurry of motions filed in 9th District Court by Chett L. Whitman’s new defense attorney covered a lot of new territory in the former Big Piney man’s criminal case.

Whitman, charged with the brutal beating of Christopher Meeks of Daniel in July, and his new attorney Dave McCarthy had appeared via videoconference for Whitman’s pretrial conference. Judge Kate McKay heard arguments that day from McCarthy and Sublette County Attorney Clayton Melinkovich and moved Whitman’s May 8 jury trial back to July 17.

On April 27, the defense attorney requested production of the prosecution’s witness statements. Melinkovich filed his list of trial witnesses and anticipated testimony – many Green River Rendezvous revelers and first responders who were outside the Cowboy and Corral bars that night.

In response, McCarthy requested “the criminal record of any witness it intends to call in the trial of the above-captioned matter,” adding they “are necessary to ensure a fair trial,” it says.

Another defense motion requests disclosure of any witnesses the state intends to call “and of the defendant” should he testify, if “convicted of a felony or any crime involving dishonesty or false statement” going back more than 10 years.

Whitman has prior convictions himself for stalking and aggravated property destruction, reaching a plea agreement that avoided jail time.

On May 16, Judge McKay granted McCarthy’s motions for the prosecution to disclose witnesses’ “qualifying prior convictions it is aware of,” and for its witnesses’ recorded and written statements. She extended the motions deadline to May 26, records show.

Whitman’s attorney also demanded notice of Melinkovich’s intent to introduce evidence at trial that would be reviewed under Wyoming Rule of Evidence 404(b). The rule calls for a judicial review of “evidence of other crimes, wrongs or acts” to determine if the evidence is admissible at trial.

Whitman’s jury trial is set to begin July 17 and his pretrial conference will be June 22.