Police lights

One adult and two high school students appeared in court Tuesday afternoon in connection to what a prosecutor called a “drive by” shooting over the weekend.

Court documents that detail the specifics of the case were not available after the proceedings ended. On Monday, police indicated they’d taken four juveniles into custody after officers responded to a shots-fired call on Sunday night. Bullet casings were found in the street and bullet holes were seen in the side of a home.

Casper police spokeswoman Rebekah Ladd confirmed that the juveniles making their initial court appearances Tuesday are believed to be connected to the Sunday night incident, and that the adult, Mathew Nietert, is allegedly involved, as well. Ladd said police believe the incident was a drive-by shooting but aren’t sure if the house struck by gunfire was specifically targeted. She said she didn’t know how Nietert was allegedly involved in the situation.

Nietert, 25, is charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault; conspiracy to commit property destruction; the wrongful taking or disposing of property; and possession of a deadly weapon. He was held on a $100,000 bond.

The two juveniles, who prosecutor Michael Schafer said were linked to the crime, faced similar charges. One, a 17-year-old, faces five felonies. In addition to the conspiracy and the deadly weapon charges that Nietert faces, the teen is also charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver.

The teenager, who goes to a Casper high school, appeared with his grandmother and winced when Schafer recommended a $50,000 bond. The teen was ultimately held on $100,000 bond, despite his grandmother’s request that he be released to her.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Patchen told the woman that he wasn’t concerned that the teen would flee but that he would sell drugs. That statement drew a snort and a “really?” from a woman in the audience. A Natrona County sheriff’s deputy would later warn her to be quiet, and after another outburst, the deputy eventually escorted another adolescent in the audience out of the courtroom.

After setting bond at $100,000, Patchen told the teen that “it could’ve been a lot worse. It could’ve been a murder charge.”

The second juvenile who appeared Tuesday was also 17 and also appeared with his grandmother. He was charged with the two conspiracy charges and with possession a deadly weapon. His bond was set at $50,000.

A third juvenile was set to appear in court related to the incident, but Patchen declined to move forward because the boy, 16, did not have a parent or guardian present.

A fourth juvenile apparently connected to the incident did not appear in circuit court Tuesday. The Star-Tribune typically refrains from publishing the names of juveniles unless they are charged in adult court.

Ladd, the police spokeswoman, said law enforcement had not yet released the affidavit detailing the case because of the involvement of juveniles.

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Follow education reporter Seth Klamann on Twitter @SethKlamann


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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