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Mitchell Taylor

Mitchell Taylor makes his initial appearance in Natrona County District Court on March 5 in Casper. He will go to trial on assault charges next week.

A Casper man pleaded guilty Thursday to destroying property within Wyoming Medical Center back in early March when he opened fire within the facility. He will still stand trial next week on two remaining charges.

Mitchell Taylor, 20, will begin trial Monday on two counts of aggravated assault. In previous court appearances earlier this year, Taylor pleaded not guilty and said that he was high on LSD and suicidal on March 4 when he broke into the hospital early that morning. Taylor is accused of pointing the gun at two employees and firing a total of seven times, missing both hospital workers but damaging property in the facility.

Judge bars hospital shooting suspect from telling jurors he was high on LSD

Court-appointed defense attorney Joe Cole told Judge Daniel Forgey that Taylor was pleading guilty to property destruction because he wanted to be held accountable for the charge he’s guilty of. Cole explained that his client didn’t want to tell next week’s jury that he was not guilty of destroying property when he was. Cole also noted that there’s video footage of Taylor pulling the trigger and that “there’s no way you cannot know you’re going to destroy property” when you fire a gun inside a building.

Taylor faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the property destruction count. Although defendants will sometimes bargain with prosecutors for certain sentencing recommendations as a condition of a guilty plea, there was no mention of such an agreement Thursday afternoon. Cole told the Star-Tribune on Thursday morning that he had not negotiated any favorable sentencing conditions in connection with the plea.

Casper man accused of firing gun inside Wyoming Medical Center pleads not guilty

At the Thursday afternoon hearing, Taylor told the judge that he was in Wyoming Medical Center the night of the incident and that he didn’t have permission to be there.

Forgey asked him what caused the damage.

“Use of LSD, sir,” Taylor replied.

Cole leaned over and whispered to Taylor. The judge was asking about what literally caused the damage.

“Me pulling the trigger,” Taylor corrected.

“Of what?” Forgey asked.

“A firearm,” Taylor finished.

Wyoming Medical Center to undergo security upgrades in wake of active shooter incident

The damage to a door and wall caused by the bullets is in excess of $6,000, Cole said.

Taylor appeared in court in an orange jumpsuit and shackles Thursday. But at the trial he’ll be in street clothes without visible restraints, Forgey ordered.

Casper police say suspect entered Wyoming Medical Center through back door, fired at least 7 shots

Another charge against Taylor, possession of a deadly weapon with unlawful intent, was dismissed Monday. During that same hearing, prosecutors also successfully argued that Cole couldn’t tell jurors about Taylor’s alleged LSD use before the incident at Wyoming Medical Center. Taylor has maintained that he was high on the drug at the time, which is why he says he was at the hospital in the first place.

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Follow education reporter Seth Klamann on Twitter @SethKlamann

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Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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