Supreme Court upholds Afton murder conviction

By Sarah Hale

Star Valley Independent

Via Wyoming News Exchange

AFTON — The Wyoming Supreme Court has affirmed the conviction of Wade Farrow for the December 2014 murder of Afton resident Tony Hansen.

The ruling on March 19 stems from events that took place in the early morning hours of December 21, 2014 in an Afton apartment. Tony Hansen, 22, was shot and killed. Melanie Pumphery, then 21, suffered a gunshot wound in her leg.

Farrow was arrested on scene and subsequently charged with first degree murder and aggravated assault.

During the trial, prosecutors painted a picture of Farrow being a violent and angry man who brought a loaded gun to a party the night the shootings took place.

The defense team stated that Farrow was clearly in a hostile situation where he felt like he was in danger. The defense attorney stated that Farrow showed no intent to harm or kill anyone at the party prior to the gunshots.

Farrow, himself, took the witness stand during the trial. He stated he was concerned about his girlfriend and did not believe he could safely exit the apartment at the time the shooting took place.

A 12-person jury found Farrow not guilty of aggravated assault in relation to Pumphery’s gunshot wound.

The jury also found Farrow not guilty of first degree murder.

A guilty verdict was reached by the jury for second degree murder relating to the death of Hansen.

The difference between first degree murder and second degree murder in Wyoming is whether or not there was premeditation or intent to kill.

Following the initial conviction of second degree murder, which occurred in September 2016, Farrow was sentenced to serve 35 to 65 years in prison.

Farrow appealed the ruling in both the District Court and the Wyoming Supreme Court.

According to Lincoln County Attorney Spencer Allred, with the Supreme Court ruling this week, the case is officially “done and over.” Further appeals cannot be filed in the matter, he said.

“I’m truly happy for the Hansen Family,” Allred said. “They can finally get some closure in this.” 

According to Allred, the dedicated efforts of law enforcement and investigating officers came into play during the legal process.

“I can’t say enough, quite frankly, with regards to the efforts of law enforcement as well as my staff in seeing this case through to its conclusion,” Allred said. “They worked extremely hard on this. Everybody did. It was a difficult case for a number of different reasons and the law enforcement officers and investigation team and my staff all worked extremely hard to ultimately get the results that we did in this case. The Supreme Court ruled in our favor. That ruling was a reflection of the caliber of work that went into presenting this case and really just sticking with it to see that justice was done.”

“This has been a very long process,” Allred continued. “And it has not been an easy journey for the Hansen Family. I appreciate the family’s support and patience on this and I am very glad that we will be putting this case to rest.”