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Natrona County man gets prison for assaulting woman while free on bond in separate case
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Natrona County man gets prison for assaulting woman while free on bond in separate case

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A Natrona County judge on Tuesday morning sentenced a local man to four to six years in prison for assaulting a woman while free on bond facing allegations he’d attacked the same person.

The prison term is the max allowable under a plea deal prosecutors struck earlier this year with Matthew Drengenberg, 33.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Kerri Johnson referenced Drengenberg’s criminal history, which includes a prior assault and a series of DUIs but — according to the public defender representing him — no prior felony convictions.

Drengenberg spoke briefly during the Tuesday morning hearing, where he appeared by video from the Natrona County Detention Center. He said, during his brief statement, that he wants to “move on” from the assault, and that if he saw her, he would apologize to the woman he beat.

The woman was flown by helicopter to Wyoming Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with a broken rib and a collapsed lung. She did not appear at the sentencing hearing.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Schafer told the judge that the woman did not appear at the hearing because she wanted to “not remember what happened.”

The case dates to last summer. In August, while Drengenberg was free on bond in a misdemeanor domestic battery case, sheriff’s deputies arrested him in the felony matter. According to court documents filed in support of that arrest, the alleged victim in the misdemeanor case made a call to 911. She said that her boyfriend had beat her up. About a minute into the call, the dispatcher heard the phone drop to the ground and the woman began screaming, according to the documents.

The call then went silent.

Deputies found the woman about 20 minutes later, according to the documents. She identified Drengenberg as her assailant before she was put on a helicopter and flown to a local hospital, according to the documents.

Doctors at Wyoming Medical Center diagnosed her with a broken rib and a deflated left lung, the documents state. She had blood on her face, scrape marks on her legs and arms and her eye was swollen shut, the documents state.

In an interview with a sheriff’s investigator, the woman said Drengenberg began beating her after she said she would leave him, according to the documents. She said he threw her to the ground and then dragged her through cacti. He kicked her in the stomach and face, the documents state she told the investigator. He grabbed her by the throat and held her face-down in the sand, according to the documents.

Drengenberg earlier this year pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated assault. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dismissed three other felonies that Drengenberg had faced in the case. They also dismissed the misdemeanor case alleging battery of the same woman.

He remained in custody on Tuesday morning.

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson joined the Star-Tribune in 2017. He covers courts and law enforcement agencies in Natrona County and across the state. Shane studied journalism at the University of Missouri and worked at newspapers there before moving to Wyoming.

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