A woman who allegedly took part in a robbery attempt that left her two elderly neighbors battered pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness Tuesday morning.
Sharon Marie Hinkle, 45, was charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. She was arrested Feb. 9 at a home on the 4800 block of Bel Vista Drive in Bar Nunn, down the street from the house where she and William Mason Quillin allegedly attacked two people in their 70s over a safe that doesn’t exist.
According to court documents, Hinkle and Quillin went to the home to “take care” of its two occupants and to hunt for the safe. Late on Feb. 8, Quillin allegedly kicked in the front door and demanded access to the safe. Hinkle was standing inside the doorway and noticed that one of the victims was watching her. Hinkle put on a pair of sunglasses and slowly walked backward out the front door, authorities say.
Then, court documents say, Quillin began assaulting the 70-year-old female victim, knocking her to the ground and kicking her repeatedly. The 71-year-old male victim fled, banging on a neighbor’s door and begging for help. Quillin, described as 6-foot-5 and heavyset, followed him outside and “used his fists, feet, and a nearby snow shovel” to beat the man, court documents say. Quillin also allegedly tried to gouge the man’s eyes out.
Quillin was charged with aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated assault. He has not been formally arraigned yet. In a brief interview with law enforcement, he said he didn’t remember anything from the night of the assault other than going to bed.
According to court documents, as Quillin battered the man on the neighbor’s porch, the female victim looked out from a window in their home. She told authorities that Hinkle was standing in the driveway with what appeared to be a club, a statement that would later be corroborated by Hinkle in an interrogation with police.
The neighbor whose porch had become a crime scene opened his door, prompting Quillin to stop beating the victim and walk away, authorities allege.
As he left, he said, “I’m going to kill this (expletive),” according to court documents. Hinkle left with him.
Law enforcement traced the pair back to a house on the same street, where they returned and had sex, according to court documents. When law enforcement arrived, Quillin and Hinkle refused to leave the house, and eventually, Natrona County Sheriff’s Department deputies repeatedly used tear gas, tasers and bean bag rounds to arrest a resisting Quillin.
Deputies arrested Hinkle with little trouble, according to court documents. No deputies were injured.
The two victims were both taken to Wyoming Medical Center. The female victim had a broken pelvis and “significant bruising” to her rib cage and left leg. The man had two broken ribs, a broken pelvis, blood on his lungs, cuts to his hands, wrists and arms, injuries to his eyes, and a possibly lacerated liver.
In Judge Thomas Sullins’ courtroom Tuesday morning, Hinkle pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness or deficiency. It isn’t clear what exact illness or deficiency she claims to have. She’s been released on $100,000 bond.
Sullins ordered an evaluation, which puts the case on hold until it’s completed. Although not talking about this specific case, he lamented what he saw as a general misuse of the mental health defense.
“Sometimes, it appears these pleas are used to cause delays,” he said.
Star-Tribune staff writer Elise Schmelzer contributed to this report.