SHERIDAN — Rescheduling a trial for a man charged with second-degree murder may cause more than just a hiccup in scheduling for the attorneys and judge involved in the case.
Sheridan County Attorney Matt Redle is retiring and would have to be appointed as special counsel if the trial were scheduled for a 2019 date.
Presiding Judge John Fenn also is unsure about his future and longevity in Sheridan County, as he was one of three nominated for the vacant Wyoming Supreme Court seat.
The case, currently scheduled for trial beginning Sept. 10, began when Sheridan Police Department officers arrested Christopher Labuy Jan. 10 after a resident at 1410 N. Main St. reported that Labuy shot a man in another apartment in the building.
Documents filed by the Sheridan County Attorney’s Office said when officers arrived, they took possession of a handgun belonging to Labuy, then entered the apartment of the alleged killing. Officers found Eric Kaylor, the victim, lying on the floor, dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the head.
Labuy told officers he shot Kaylor after Kaylor put a gun to Labuy’s head while they were both in the apartment.
Labuy indicated he had been staying at Kaylor’s apartment for several days.
The two had been drinking together. Labuy had a presumptive 0.3 percent blood alcohol content at the time, 0.22 percent over the legal driving limit.
Court documents indicate Labuy said Kaylor began insulting him, calling him worthless. Labuy said Kaylor took out his handgun, waved it around and pointed it at Labuy, saying he would kill Labuy.
Labuy said he was not fearful of Kaylor at that time and thought it was a joke.
Kaylor put the muzzle of the handgun to Labuy’s head, then Labuy unzipped his jacket, reached inside of the jacket, pulled his handgun from a holster and shot Kaylor in the head.
SPD initially arrested Labuy on a first-degree murder charge, which would result in the death penalty or life in prison. Redle charged him with second-degree murder, which, if convicted, would result in 20 years to life in prison.
Defense attorney Erin Wardell filed a motion to continue the trial. She explained during a pretrial conference Thursday that she is waiting to receive results back from the state crime lab. Those results might significantly impact the case, and Wardell would likely need to schedule an expert to speak as a witness regarding the results, which makes pulling a trial together in a month difficult.
Plea negotiations are also still under consideration.
Fenn also expressed concern that if they pushed the trial back the lab might also push back completing the reports in a timely fashion.
Redle said he would call the person assigned to this case at the crime lab and will return with written information regarding the employee’s response and estimated timeline.
The next step for Labuy’s case will be a status conference to determine if the trial date must be delayed, but as of now the man’s trial will run four or five days starting Sept. 10.