Burglary case pleads guilty

Baseball bat assault headed to trial

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 5/22/24

TORRINGTON – The Goshen County District Court returned to session Thursday at 11 a.m. for the Change of Plea hearing of Torrington man, Seth Freouf (21).

Freouf, while represented by …

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Burglary case pleads guilty

Baseball bat assault headed to trial


TORRINGTON – The Goshen County District Court returned to session Thursday at 11 a.m. for the Change of Plea hearing of Torrington man, Seth Freouf (21).

Freouf, while represented by public defense attorney, Kayla Fosmo, initially had pleaded not guilty to a December case involving felony burglary.

In light of both state prosecution and defense reaching a plea agreement, Freouf chose to switch from his original plea to guilty.

Judge Edward Buchanan presided over the hearing, with Goshen County and Prosecuting Attorney, Eric Boyer, representing the State of Wyoming.

Judge Buchanan began by asking the defendant if any drugs, medications, or alcohol were currently in his system which would affect any ways the court could communicate efficiently with him.

Freouf responded in the negative as judge Buchanan reviewed mandatory lawful facts just prior to accepting the change.

“You have the right to plead guilty, but you need to know if you change your plea there won’t be a trial,” Buchanan explained. “We will proceed and if I accept your plea, I would hold that in advance until the court could determine whether or not prosecution would be appropriate. If you change your plea, the state does not have to prove this case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. There won’t be a trial at all, and you would give up your right to remain silent. Your presumption of innocence is gone because you have pleaded guilty, and you may not call any witnesses. Do you understand the rights you are waiving if you plead guilty today?”

The defendant stated he understood the circumstances being presented to him by the court.

The proceedings then required both the defense and prosecution to ask the defendant questions on a factual basis in order for the plea to be accepted.

“Mr. Freouf on December 12 were you in Goshen County?” Fosmo asked her client. “Upon that date did you enter into a camper belonging to a Goshen resident? Unaware he owned it, but entered a camper that was not yours? Did you have the authority? Did you enter the camper with the intent to remove items from it? Did you remove two TVs from that camper? When law enforcement contacted you, did you tell them where they were so they could get them back?”

Freouf proceeded to answer each question in the affirmative.

State prosecution then proceeded to ask said factual questions.

“Mr. Freouf you met the guy whom the trailer belonged to, correct?” asked Boyer. “Were you by yourself?”

“No,” Freouf responded.

When the state proceeded to ask the defendant who was with him, he replied, “Landon Spencer.”

“You told the police the guy was Louie Monroe, right?” Boyer continued. “And he was listed in your phone, correct?”

“It wasn’t my phone,” Freouf replied.

“This case involved a couple of codefendants,” Boyer continued. “And the whole process of factual basis is essential as we get to the basics. Mr. Freouf has described A, B, and C itself claiming to the police he thought the camper was abandoned if that were true in a legal defense claim of burglary. So that’s why I asked if he had previously been in the camper. The parties have agreed due to the young age of the defendant and in exchange for a guilty plea; the state and defendant would pursue an agreement and consent which would defer prosecution under Wyoming statute. The party would argue sentencing after proceeding with a pre-sentence investigation.”

After hearing questions and statements based on a factual basis from both parties, judge Buchanan asked Freouf a final time how he wished to plead in his case despite not being able to take it back in doing so.

“Guilty,” Freouf stated.

“The court will find Mr. Freouf is alert and not suffering from any condition,” judge Buchanan said. “He understood today’s proceedings, and his decision to enter the guilty plea today under contemplation with Ms. Fosmo is satisfying. He did not receive inducements and lawfully understands the penalties and charges. Further, his decision to plead guilty was not through threat, inducement, or coercion. I will accept the plea but will not enter it.”

“You are ordered to go today to probation and parole, tell them you are there to make an appointment and in the process of completing your pre-sentence investigation report,” Buchanan continued. “If not, the court will withdraw its consent, the plea agreement, revoke your bond, and place you in custody. All of this is part of your bond which now requires you to go over and report today and cooperate fully. If you don’t, higher consequences.”

Shortly prior to the change of plea from Freouf just across the hall in circuit court, a status hearing took place in regard to ongoing assault charges against one Fabien Martinez.

Martinez is currently facing felony assault and battery charges for having allegedly physically assaulted Torrington man, Juan DeLeon, in his residential neighborhood last June with baseball bats.

It should be noted Martinez’s brother, Jesus, had been sentenced earlier Monday morning to nine months in jail after accepting an Alford plea agreement from the state for his role in the assault.

The court came into session as judge Nathaniel Hibben entered the room promptly at 10:30 a.m.

The prosecution was represented by Goshen County and Deputy Attorney Colby Sturgeon, with public defender Eric Palen representing legal counsel for Martinez.

“Mr. Palen can you tell me the status of this case please,” judge Hibben began.

“I think my client has refused to sign or accept the plea deal,” Palen replied. “For the purpose of the court, if this case were to remain in this jurisdiction, it would probably be set for trial. We are not sure if it will remain here or if the county attorney intends to do something different.”

In response to the current position of the defendant, prosecuting attorney Sturgeon addressed both the court as well as the defendant.

“Basically, what this amounts to is this case had begun with a charge of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault with a bat,” Sturgeon stated. “There were victims who were injured. The matter was bound over to district court as part of plea negotiations, and we were working on that. It was discussed and contemplated in having Mr. Martinez plead to a misdemeanor. It appears now this is something he is unwilling to do at least as of now. With this, Your Honor, I believe the state will rebound this back as a felony and proceed accordingly by sorting it out in District Court with the intent of getting a conviction for aggravated assault and battery. That is the state’s plan now, however, it was all for the benefit of Mr. Martinez to resolve the matter. We believe it was something both parties could agree with. If that is not the case, we will continue with our original path. We are set for a jury trial across the hall and believe everything was done over the discovery. The whole nine yards has been done. The state and everyone is ready to proceed.”

After hearing statements from both counsel of the defendant and state prosecution, judge Hibben addressed the court and case just prior to recess.

“A trial will probably take place within 75 days of now,” Hibben stated. “The facts are developed, and we will set this case for a jury trial.”

The circuit court judge held from his bench a bright red folder, signifying the case, charges, and potential consequences for the defendant.

“This red file is to be for a felony bound over to district. What does or doesn’t happen in this matter, or whether misdemeanors are dismissed the attorneys will now proceed. For now, I have a charge with no plea agreement, and will now set trial.”

The court stood in recess at 10:39 a.m. The trial date has yet to be set at this time.