Wyoming news briefs for December 3

Woman sentenced to prison in husband’s death

RIVERTON — Convicted of manslaughter for her husband’s death, BenniLee Strock was sentenced Tuesday to 15-20 years in prison. 

The 40-year-old Pavillion woman, who was 39 when she committed the crime, had been drinking with her husband on Christmas Eve 2020. The pair returned home, quarreling, and Strock stabbed her husband, Jeffrey Strock, once in the shoulder area of his back, and once in his chest. 

“I hope on your own time, you will find it in your hearts to forgive me, as I have loved and still love Jeffrey, and miss him every day,” said Strock during her sentencing hearing in Fremont County District Court on Tuesday morning. 

She said she was addressing everyone in the courtroom. The gallery was full with family from both sides, including at least one of Strock’s four sons, and the late Jeffrey Strock’s mother. 

“I am ready to face the consequences that lie before me… to accept it with responsibility and accountability.” 

Strock had pleaded guilty to manslaughter Sept. 21. She was charged initially with second degree murder. However, she received a plea agreement after District Court Judge Marv Tyler removed her murder confession from the pool of evidence due to an error in the deliverance of her Miranda rights.

“When Jeffrey Strock was stabbed, the first thing the defendant did was take that knife and put it in the sink,” said Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun. 

LeBrun argued for the maximum term of sentencing for the manslaughter charge, 15-20 years. 


Sheridan, Johnson county judge appointed to Supreme Court

SHERIDAN — Gov. Mark Gordon appointed Judge John Fenn of Sheridan and Johnson counties’ 4th Judicial District Court to Wyoming’s Supreme Court Thursday. Fenn’s appointment fills the open seat left by the retirement of Justice Michael Davis.

Fenn was appointed to the 4th Judicial District Court in 2007 and handily retained by popular vote in 2008, 2014 and 2020. He’s known for a firm but fair approach to court proceedings and often the first in the courtroom to wish down-on-their-luck criminal defendants future success.

Fenn has also received considerable acclaim from the Wyoming Bar Association’s biannual judicial advisory reports, for which attorneys rate judges’ knowledge of the law, courtesy and other courtroom-relevant factors. Fenn received above average ratings in all categories on the WBA’s 2014 poll, 2016 poll, 2018 poll and 2020 poll (records were not available prior to 2014). WBA’s judicial advisory reports most laud Fenn’s “integrity and ethics to carry out the duties of the judicial office.”

After graduating from law school, Fenn quickly found work at Yonkee & Toner, LLP in Sheridan, where he went on to represent clients before municipal and district courts, the Wyoming Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Fenn was also recently elected to serve, along with two others, on Wyoming's new chancery court, focusing on statewide business and trust cases. 


Man arrested for stalking after telling his mother

GILLETTE — A 34-year-old man was arrested for felony stalking Wednesday evening after spying on his girlfriend and texting his mom about it.

A 32-year-old woman told police that the man, who was her estranged boyfriend, had placed a camera in her garage and was watching her. The man had been evicted from her home and served a protection order on Monday, said Police Detective Sgt. Dean Welch.

The man, Logan Schroeder, texted his 59-year-old mother, saying he was watching the ex-girlfriend. He also sent his mom video footage from the camera, which was hidden between items in the garage, Welch said.

The mother said Schroeder messaged her later, saying he saw officers go into the garage.

The incident was reported late Wednesday morning, and Schroeder was arrested at about 5 p.m. that day for stalking and for violating the protection order.