from the District Court of Natrona County The Honorable
Daniel L. Forgey, Judge
Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender:
Diane Lozano, Wyoming State Public Defender; Kirk A. Morgan,
Chief Appellate Counsel; Professor Lauren McLane, Faculty
Director, and Dami R. Metzler, Student Intern, of the
Defender Aid Clinic, University of Wyoming College of Law.
Argument by Ms. Metzler.
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney
General; Christyne M. Martens, Deputy Attorney General;
Katherine A. Adams, [*] Senior Assistant Attorney General;
Kelly D. Mullen, Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms.
DAVIS, C.J., and FOX, KAUTZ, BOOMGAARDEN, and GRAY, JJ.
Justin Bittleston appeals his convictions of one count each
of felony stalking and burglary. He claims that statements he
made during a traffic stop should have been suppressed
because he was not given a Miranda warning, and that
his counsel was ineffective for having failed to move for
their suppression. He further contends that the district
court abused its discretion under W.R.E. 403 by admitting
body camera footage of the stop. Lastly, he contends that the
evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. We
Mr. Bittleston presents five issues on appeal, which we
summarize and restate as follows:
1) Was Mr. Bittleston denied effective assistance of counsel
when his counsel failed to move to suppress statements he
made without a Miranda warning?
2) Should the district court have suppressed the statements
Mr. Bittleston made without a Miranda warning sua
3) Did the district court abuse its discretion in admitting
body camera footage of Mr. Bittleston's traffic stop?
4) Were Mr. Bittleston's convictions supported by
The State responds to those issues and presents an additional
question of whether Mr. Bittleston waived his
Miranda claim by failing to raise it before the
Justin Bittleston and Kelley Skinner met on January 11, 2017
at the Beacon Club in Natrona County, where Ms. Skinner
worked as a night manager and bartender. The two immediately
began an intimate relationship, and he lived in her home for
the next month and a half, aside from a week during that
period when they were separated. On February 26, 2017, Ms.
Skinner ended the relationship and removed Mr.
Bittleston's belongings from her home. She broke the news
to him while they were in her car, and he threw her house
keys to the vehicle floor.
Within an hour, Mr. Bittleston began sending Ms. Skinner text
messages, and over the next two weeks, he sent hundreds of
those messages and also left numerous voicemails. Ms. Skinner
described the text messages as follows:
Q. Was he texting you the same kind of things after you broke
up that he was before?
Q. How were they different?
A. Threatening, derogatory, disrespectful, mean.
Q. Do you remember any specific language of these texts that
were happening early on?
A. "Language" as in?
Q. The contents of the texts.
A. Yeah. Just asking me if this is what I wanted to do.
You're going to be sorry. You better make sure that this
is what you want. Calling me names.
Q. What names?
A. Cunt, whore, slut, you know, bitch, whatever, you know.
And then he would turn around and say, I love you. I
don't want to do this. And then he would say, you - you
know, You fucking whore. And it just would go from one - from
nice to not nice, you know, back and forth.
Q. Now, when this was happening, were you responding to these
A. At first, I was, because I told - I didn't want him
bothering me anymore.
Q. So what would you say in your response?
A. I was just, like, You need to leave me alone. This is
crazy. Stop texting me. You know, I can't sleep.
You're affecting my work. You're affecting my job.
Everything. It was affecting everything.
On March 4, 2017, Mr. Bittleston sent Ms. Skinner a text
message in which he told her he knew about "Ryan,"
and who he was. Ryan was a man Ms. Skinner had met on
Facebook after her breakup with Mr. Bittleston. Ms. Skinner then
became concerned that Mr. Bittleston had been in her home,
because the only place he could have seen the name was in her
personal journal, which was kept there, and she had not made
the journal entry until after her breakup with him. Because
Ms. Skinner was at work when she received the text message,
she contacted her best friend, Shawn McMillan, and asked her
to call the police and check her home. Ms. McMillan did so,
and the responding officers found no signs of forced entry
but offered to walk Ms. Skinner through her home when she got
As promised, the officers met Ms. Skinner at her home after
she completed her shift, and she walked through it with them.
She did not notice anything out of place, and the officers
left and she went to bed. After she went to bed, it occurred
to her that she should check her journal. When she did so,
she found that the page of which Mr. Bittleston had sent her
a photo had been torn from the journal. On looking further,
she also discovered that tip money and a key fob for her
vehicle were also missing.
The next day, Ms. Skinner had a friend change the locks on
her home. While that was being done, Mr. Bittleston drove by
Ms. Skinner's home twice, went around the block, and then
pulled up and parked behind the friend's vehicle on the
street. Mr. Bittleston stayed there for a couple of minutes,
and Shawn McMillan, who was also present, contacted the
Evansville Police Department. Sergeant Norman Newsome
responded, took Ms. Skinner's report, and reviewed some
of the text messages Mr. Bittleston had sent her. The text
message he later recalled was one in which Mr. Bittleston
called Ms. Skinner a whore and told her she would be sorry.
Sergeant Newsome advised Ms. Skinner where she could go to
obtain a restraining order and then patrolled the immediate
On March 10, 2017, Mr. Bittleston sent Ms. Skinner numerous
text messages, with the last two of the night stating,
"You laough all you want my turn now," and
"The last mother fucker about died so laough all you
want." On March 11, 2017, he again sent her numerous
text messages, with the first of the morning stating,
"What not so funny now." Other messages on the 11th
included: "I got a new toy just for the occasion
to;" I can not wait;" "Peak a boo I see
you;" "That's the question were am I at and
when;" "I like my new toy;" "Bad mother
fucker it is it is;" "Your loss and my gain maybe
ill find a loyal woman;" "Cant wait to use my new
toy oh boy oh boy this is gonna rock;" "That's
right i am going to do just as i said watch its coming your a
liar and now I know;" "I will do just as i
said;" "Just ...