A man who pleaded guilty to four felonies related to an armed standoff with law enforcement was sentenced Wednesday to a maximum of nine years in prison.

Local law enforcement arrested Zachary Lovelace in early June after a six-hour standoff. Prosecutors said he pointed a gun at a man, shot toward law enforcement and damaged a patrol vehicle during the incident.

Lovelace declined to speak during his sentencing hearing Wednesday in Natrona County District Court.

Three of his relatives spoke before the sentence was handed down, however. They said Lovelace had a drug addiction that they think factored into his crimes. The family had supported him in his fight against the addiction.

Two of Lovelace’s brothers spoke, their voices broken by intermittent sobbing. They said the defendant had a strong work ethic and love for the outdoors, but his methamphetamine use made him unrecognizable to those who knew him.

“When he gets on the straight path, the support’s huge,” his younger brother, Sean Lovelace, said.

Lovelace’s stepmother also addressed Judge Daniel Forgey, asking him to “find it in your heart to give the boy another chance.”

Defense attorney Rob Oldham said the prosecution had initially agreed to cap its argument to eight years. After Lovelace’s mother suspected he was using methamphetamine while out on bond, he returned to jail and the two parties agreed on the 10-year cap.

After describing the events that led to the standoff, prosecutor Dan Itzen argued that Lovelace should be sentenced to 7-to-10 years imprisonment in the case.

Forgey spoke briefly before handing down the sentence, saying that imprisonment was appropriate for the nature of the crimes.

Lovelace pleaded guilty in September to four charges of aggravated assault, all felonies. As part of a plea deal, two additional felonies were dropped and the prosecution agreed to limit its sentencing argument.

Lovelace’s interactions with police in June began after he stole a phone from a man fishing near Bessemer Bend Road and then pointed a gun at the victim, who called 911, according to court documents.

Lovelace then hid in the attic of a relative’s house on Sharrock Road. Police said that Lovelace was heavily intoxicated at the time.

Deputies with the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office used an app on the iPhone to track Lovelace’s location, according to prosecutors. For six hours, Lovelace refused to exit the home.

He fired four rounds during his time in the attic, two at a police camera inserted into the attic, according to court documents. Two more bullets burst through the home’s exterior near where the officers were working.

Lovelace was arrested while attempting to run from the home. Police also alleged he caused about $3,500 in damage to a Casper police patrol car while an officer took him from the hospital to the Natrona County Detention Center.

As part of his sentence, Lovelace will be required to pay restitution for the damage to the vehicle.

Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson


Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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