Suspect cooperative during investigation

‘He seemed to be extremely truthful and honest minus that he was by himself’

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TORRINGTON – The Goshen County Circuit Court met in session late Tuesday morning for the preliminary hearing of Torrington man, Zachary Lane, for an alleged local burglary attempt on February 7, 2024.

Presiding over the proceedings was Judge Nathaniel Hibben, with Goshen County and Prosecuting Attorney, Eric Boyer, representing the state of Wyoming.

Representing the defense of Lane was public defender, Eric Palen.

The hearing began with the state requiring the testimony of county investigator, Sergeant Herb Irons.

While under oath, Irons gave a first-hand account of the transpiring events that took place on February 7 which led to the eventual arrest and charges of the defendant.

“On February 7 of this year at approximately 1:05 p.m., Torrington Central Dispatch got a call from an individual who said he was on his parent’s property and was out with individuals who were in the process of stealing items from said property,” Irons said. “I responded to that location, and when I arrived, I observed the reporting party in the roadway screaming at an individual later identified as Zachary Lane. He was standing in the driveway, and I instructed him to put his hands up, place them on stop of his head and turn around. I advised him of his Miranda Rights and would later place him in handcuffs.”

While being questioned further by the state in his continued testimony, Irons recalled a step-by-step account of his first interaction with Lane. According to Irons, Lane seemed to be surprisingly very cooperative while being investigated for the alleged crimes he had presumably committed. The crimes involved included the destruction of a shed, and theft of a water tank and woodburning stove.

“I asked him what he was doing, and if he was taking items from the property,” Irons continued. “He said he was, and that he knew he was not supposed to be there. I asked if he would take me around, and show me any items he may have taken.”

According to Irons, the defendant willingly obliged.

“He said he had entered a well, and cut two sections leading to the water tank which made it able to be removed from the shed. He further stated he went into a woodshed and took two pieces of wood. He set them to support the water tank from rolling on a cart which he had brought across the roadway. He then stated he had wheeled the cart in an attempt to take the tank over to his property across the street when he was confronted by the reporting party.”

Irons further explained during his testimony Lane had disclosed his intent was to salvage pieces of metal for scrap, while also having an accomplice during the events.

The accomplice would later be identified as local man, Ricky Dyer. 

Sergeant Irons noted the cooperation of a local auto shop business led to further substantial evidence and probable cause regarding charges of burglary.

“I then conducted a second investigation, and Lane was again advised of his Miranda Rights,” Irons continued. “He stated he would waive his rights and he would agree to speak to me. He explained they had removed a cast iron wood burning stove to be salvaged and turned into scrap metal. He advised both he and Dyer both took that item to be salvaged. The following day on February 8, 2024, I had pictures the original reporting party had taken of the shed prior to the woodburning stove being taken, so we were able to see the basic design of the stove. I contacted the owner of a local auto shop business and asked if he was able to salvage the stove. It was said yes, someone by the name of Zach had come in recently and scrapped that. The employee was immediately able to point out that Zach Lane was the driver of a pickup truck when that item was picked up and scrapped.”

Sergeant Irons continued before the court, further testifying and explaining the defendant later be mandatorily pointed out of a line by the reporting witness. Irons noted despite the cooperation of the defendant as well as an eye-witness, identifying suspects out of a line continues to be an obligatory procedure adding solid credibility to witness testimony.

“The purpose behind a lineup is so you aren’t showing the witness who ‘I’ think the suspect is,” Irons explained. “It shows validity and ensures the witness can identify someone out of a group of people so they may not be mistake for someone else. The six individuals are like people as far as age, build and race. It makes sure that the victim is positive of who was involved in this case.”

Promptly after the conclusion of questions from prosecution, sergeant Irons proceeded to be cross examined by defense attorney Palen.

When asked how his client handled his investigation and arrest brought about by the county investigator, Irons once again reiterated he was remarkably helpful.

“The second time I spoke with him, he seemed to be extremely truthful and honest minus that he was by himself,” Irons stated.

After questioning by both prosecution and defense, Boyer stated the testimony of Irons provided enough concrete evidence and probable cause for the court to believe the defendant had committed burglary in that manner.

Judge Hibben spoke before the court and defendant just prior to recess.

“Mr. Lane, in this case I do find there is probable cause, which will be bound over to district proceedings, and that’s where this will conclude.”

The court stood in recess at approximately 12:02 p.m.