Wyoming news briefs for April 22

Posted 4/22/22

News from across Wyoming.

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Wyoming news briefs for April 22


Yellowstone contractor sentenced to 44 months in prison for assault in park

CHEYENNE — A former Yellowstone construction contractor is set to serve nearly four years in prison for assaulting someone during an attempted kidnapping in the national park last year.

Gregory Michael Samuel Toth was sentenced to 44 months behind bars on Monday for the October incident. A federal judge also mandated three years of supervised release following his prison time, as well as a $500 fine.

Toth, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, was living in a contractor trailer at Fishing Bridge RV Park on Yellowstone Lake at the time.

According to court filings, Toth assaulted a coworker and friend he accused of sleeping with his ex-girlfriend. The coworker told investigators that Toth entered his trailer early in the morning of Oct. 1, threw him down, choked him and held a knife to his throat.

Toth was arrested on Oct. 6 in Park County.

He initially faced six charges in the case, including marijuana possession, driving under the influence and having an open container in the park. A grand jury indicted him in November on charges of kidnapping and assault with intent to commit a felony, but the kidnapping charge was dismissed in the judge’s ruling Monday.

“Assault is a serious crime regardless of the location, but when it occurs in a national park, it becomes a federal felony,” U.S. Attorney Bob Murray said in a statement. “This individual is now serving close to four years in federal prison due to an unnecessary assault on an innocent individual.


"Yellowstone" star to be Stampede Parade grand marshal

CODY — A star of the hit TV show “Yellowstone” is set to be the grand marshal for the Fourth of July Cody Stampede parade.

Cole Hauser, who plays dependable cowboy Rip Wheeler in the show about a Montana ranch dynasty, was announced as the star attraction for the final parade by parade committee chair Mack Frost at Monday’s Cody Club luncheon.

Hauser was born in California to a family steeped in the film industry and has acted in a variety of films, including “Dazed and Confused” and “Too Fast Too Furious.”

Most recently he has played a main character on “Yellowstone,” one of the most-watched dramas on television after four seasons, with a fifth in production.

Frost said credit for Hauser being the grand marshal on Independence Day goes to Cody resident Jim Dager, who knows Hauser. The two met when the actor joined the board of directors of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a group Dager has worked with and helped for years, even putting on long range shoots on his Heart Mountain property to benefit the foundation.

Frost said at a dinner with Hauser, Dager and other Cody residents, it was asked whether Hauser would be interested in being the grand marshal.

“Cole said, ‘Yeah I’d love to do it,’” Frost said. “He’s looking forward to it, really jazzed about it.”

Frost said it’s the first true celebrity to be grand marshal since 2017, when Robert Taylor, star of the “Longmire” TV show, served as grand marshal.

“It’ll be a pretty good parade, it’s going to generate a huge crowd having Cole here,” Frost said. “I’m anticipating a crowd similar to 1976.”

That’s the year Western movie legend John Wayne led the parade. 


Commission passes on parimutuel betting facility

BUFFALO — The Johnson County Commissioners did not take action during their April 19 meeting on a proposal from Evanston-based company Wyoming Downs to open a 30-machine off-track betting facility in the county.

At the recent meeting, Johnson County Sheriff Rod Odenbach and Buffalo Police Chief Sean Bissett shared their concerns about the potential facility.

Both Odenbach and Bissett said they were opposed to the facility, primarily citing concerns that it might require more law enforcement presence and that neither the sheriff's office nor police department has additional patrols available.

Wyoming Downs had proposed the 30-machine facility be located at 75 N. Bypass Road, which houses both the Quality Inn and Albertano's Authentic Mexican Food.

Jill Jarrard, a Wyoming Downs representative, said the facility would feature only parimutuel betting machines. Parimutuel betting is most commonly associated with betting on horse races, where all bettors place bets into a pool and the pool sum is paid out to an unlimited number of winners.

The proposed Wyoming Downs Johnson County facility would have had the same style of machines — known as historical horse racing terminals - as Wyoming Downs' 14 other locations in the state. The terminals look and operate like slot machines, though bettors are actually betting on the outcomes of previously run horse races.

Wyoming Downs was primarily interested in opening a facility in Johnson County because it noticed that a significant number of people from Buffalo are betting at the company's Sheridan location, according to Jarrard. 

After much discussion, the commissioners indicated that they would heed the advice of local law enforcement and not move forward with approving the facility.