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A Natrona County man appeared in court Tuesday to face allegations that he fired a .22-caliber rifle into a bedroom and nearly struck the occupants.

Lyle James Clark, 43, appeared in Natrona County Circuit Court, where prosecutors charged him two counts of aggravated assault. The district attorney’s office also alleged that he is a habitual criminal, which brings a sentencing enhancement that could send him to prison for life. He has four prior felony convictions on his record, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Authorities allege that Clark fired into the Natrona County bedroom around 1:15 a.m. Saturday and killed a cat. Two other people who were in the room at the time were unharmed. According to court documents, Clark told investigators he had decided to shoot up the house in order to scare one of the residents. He said one of the people living in the house had abused his girlfriend when she was a child. The documents do not indicate the nature of the alleged abuse.

Court records indicate that the person alleged to have abused Clark’s girlfriend has never been charged with a crime against a child in Wyoming.

Clark did not enter pleas on Tuesday to the two charges and their corresponding enhancements. He spoke briefly to answer procedural questions before looking to family members in the audience as he was led from the courtroom.

Judge Steven Brown set Clark’s bond at $500,000.

A Natrona County sheriff’s deputy responded early Saturday morning to Plateau Street, south of Bar Nunn, after shots were fired in the area. Two people living in the house told authorities they were lying in bed when someone fired six or seven bullets through their bedroom window. The two were lying in bed watching TV when the man got up to put out his cigarette, court documents indicate the man told the deputy.

Bullets then broke through the window and one hit the couple’s cat, according to court documents. The man would have been in the line of fire had he not gotten up, he said.

The cat was later euthanized.

After reviewing footage from a nearby security camera and interviewing the alleged victims of the shooting, sheriff’s investigators spoke with Clark.

Clark admitted to shooting through the window eight or nine times, according to the documents. He told investigators he hated two residents of the house, one of whom was in the bedroom at the time of the shooting.

Clark had stashed the gun in a truck parked on a family member’s property, he told authorities. Sheriff’s deputies searched the property and found the gun, the documents state.

A woman alleged to have driven Clark to and from the scene of the shooting had not been charged Tuesday in relation to the incident.

Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson

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Crime and Courts Reporter

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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