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Lawrence v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

July 31, 2015

KYLE JORDAN LAWRENCE, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff)

Appeal from the District Court of Sweetwater County. The Honorable Richard L. Lavery, Judge.

For Appellant: W. Keith Goody, Attorney at Law, Cougar, Washington.

For Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Jenny L. Craig, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Darrell D. Jackson, Director, A. Walker Steinhage, Student Director, and Laureen S. Rogers, Student Intern, Prosecution Assistance Program, University of Wyoming, College of Law. Argument by Ms. Rogers.

Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, KITE, DAVIS, and FOX, JJ.

OPINION

Page 78

BURKE, Chief Justice.

[¶1] Appellant, Kyle Jordan Lawrence, challenges his conviction for voluntary manslaughter. He contends the district court erred in excluding evidence indicating the victim was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the events leading to his death. We affirm.

ISSUE

[¶2] Appellant presents the following issue:

Did the district court abuse its discretion when it granted the State's motion in limine and excluded any reference to methamphetamine use by Klakken, the shooting victim?

The State phrases the issue in a similar manner.

FACTS

[¶3] On the night of July 6, 2012, Appellant, Kyle Lawrence, and his fiancé e were drinking and socializing with a neighbor, Ta'Maira Michalides, in their apartment complex in Rock Springs, Wyoming. At approximately 9:30 p.m., the victim, Andrew Klakken, began shooting off fireworks in front of the apartment complex. Ms. Michalides asked the victim to stop shooting fireworks because her son was sleeping. The victim became belligerent and began shouting profanities and insults at Ms. Michalides and Appellant's fiancée. Appellant came out of his apartment on the third story of the apartment building and began exchanging profanities with the victim. After the verbal altercation escalated, Appellant retrieved a handgun from his apartment and told the victim " Come on up here, I['ve] got something for you." At that point, Appellant's neighbor and friend, Michael Keeley, came to Appellant's apartment and urged him to put the gun away. Appellant removed the magazine from the gun and set the magazine and the gun on a table in his apartment.

[¶4] Appellant then returned to the balcony in front of his apartment and shot a firework in the direction of the victim. The firework struck the victim or landed near

Page 79

him. The victim began running up the stairs of the apartment complex toward Appellant, and Appellant told the victim not to continue because he had a loaded weapon. Appellant retrieved the gun from his apartment, returned to the doorstep, and shot at the victim three times, striking him once. The victim later died from the gunshot wound. A toxicology report conducted in conjunction with the victim's ...


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