Prosecutors on Thursday morning dismissed two sex crime charges against a Natrona County man, saying they did not think they could prove the allegations.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested Lloyd Thompson, 54, late last month on allegations he sexually assaulted a woman and fired a gun at her. When he appeared in Natrona County Circuit Court on July 1, prosecutors charged him with five felonies, including two counts of sexual assault.
Thompson had not yet had an opportunity to enter pleas to any of the five charges when District Attorney Dan Itzen announced in circuit court he would dismiss the allegations of sex crimes.
The announcement came minutes before prosecutors would have been required to show probable cause for the charges at a preliminary hearing. Thompson, the only of 17 defendants appearing in court Thursday morning to request the exercise of his right to such a hearing, appeared in the courtroom wearing jail apparel.
When Judge Stephen Brown set the hearing to begin following a five-minute break, defense attorney Joe Cole said he and Itzen had reached an agreement to strike the two charges. Itzen confirmed the defense attorney’s statement and agreed to lower the man’s bond.
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After the hearing, Itzen told the Star-Tribune that he didn’t think he’d have what is required to make it through the preliminary hearing.
“Upon further investigation, we didn’t think we could meet the elements of the crime,” Itzen told the Star-Tribune outside the courthouse. Thompson still faces three counts of aggravated assault, alleging he fired a gun at a woman and tried to run her over in a Jeep. He will have an opportunity to plead to those charges when he appears in district court for an arraignment.
According to court documents filed to support the initial charges, a bystander called 911 on Sunday and said she saw Thompson fire a gun at a woman along the side of a Natrona County road.
Mills police responding to the scene found Thompson behind the wheel of a Jeep and the woman running away, the documents state. The woman, who has known Thompson for decades, told a sheriff’s investigator that he sexually assaulted her, the documents state.
When the woman tried to walk away on a nearby road, Thompson followed her in his Jeep, the documents allege. He side-swiped her and nearly ran her over, the documents state she told investigators. He threatened to shoot her, and, when she continued walking, she heard a gunshot from behind her, according to the documents.
In an interview with a sheriff’s investigator, Thompson denied pointing or shooting a gun at the woman, according to the documents.