Sweetwater men plead not guilty to assault, other charges
PINEDALE – Sublette County Circuit Court was very crowded on Tuesday morning, with four defendants, five attorneys and a judge appearing at the same time.
Thanks to technology, all four videoconference arraignments quickly took place one after the other with Judge Curt Haws, Sublette County Attorney Mike Crosson and four men charged with assaulting a Big Piney man and pointing rifles at his family on Oct. 18, 2020.
They each pleaded not guilty to assault and endangering charges; their separate trials will take place in June.
The four and others were hunting together when a confrontation occurred that resulted in numerous misdemeanor charges. All four are believed to be from Sweetwater County – Jonathan Crooks, Phillip Peterson, Casey Trujillo and Adam Angelovic.
Angelovic faces three misdemeanors – stalking to harass or threaten, battery and criminal entry into a vehicle. He allegedly hit Lowell T. Hunt, of Big Piney, through his truck window, records show.
Trujillo is charged with misdemeanors of stalking, unlawful contact and false imprisonment.
Peterson is charged with unlawful contact and false imprisonment for willfully restraining Hunt during the hunting season confrontation. He is also charged with four counts of reckless endangering for pointing a gun in the direction of Hunt, his wife, stepdaughter and a child.
Crooks faces four misdemeanors counts of reckless endangering with a firearm.
Judge Haws set each defendant’s unsecured appearance bond at $2,000; they are to have no contact with Hunt or his family.
Crooks and his wife were with the group of out-of-town hunters that included Trujillo, Angelovic and Peterson, who allegedly stopped, confronted, harassed and tried to fight Hunt and three family members in his truck on Oct. 18.
Angelovic and Hunt argued last July after Hunt threatened to “take care of” two dogs running loose through his camp near Apperson Creek. The dogs belonged to Angelovic.
The men allegedly drove through Hunt’s hunting camp, then chased after him when he drove around two of their trucks blocking Middle Piney and Dry Piney roads.
Deputy Greg Kemp and another deputy responded and investigated the assault around 8:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at Hunt’s camp. Hunt said he and his family were coming back to camp after elk hunting and when he went around their two parked trucks, five men tried to pull him out. His family pulled to keep him in the truck and the incident was recorded on phones, according to the deputy’s affidavit.
The men would not leave so Hunt pulled out his 7-mm rifle, fired toward them and drove away, he said. Hunt told the deputy he and his wife were attacked by a couple of dogs last summer. He confronted their owner, Angelovic; the men referred to “the dog incident” while surrounding his truck, he said.