Casper Man Charged With Strangulation, Child Endangerment
A Casper man faces one felony count of strangulation of a household member, and misdemeanor counts of domestic battery and child endangerment after an altercation with his fiancee on Sunday, according to court records.
Richard Smith, 32, heard the charges against him during his initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court on Monday.
If convicted on the strangulation count, Smith could face up to five years in prison.
Circuit Court Judge Steven Brown set his bond at $10,000 and ordered him to have no contact with his fiancee or child.
The case began about 2:30 p.m. Sunday when officers responded to a call at the east side Albertson's store about a family fight, according to an affidavit filed in circuit court.
An officer was told a man had grabbed a baby from a woman and walked north on an alley east of South Pennsylvania Avenue.
A female officer found Smith and asked him stop. He asked her if she was going to shoot him with a baby in his arms, even though she did not have her weapon out. Smith also was angry that the police department would sent a woman to investigate a claim from his fiancee.
When interviewed, Smith said he and his fiancee had argued about some things when he was on vacation. He was mad at her because she walked across the busy East Second Street with the baby, so he grabbed the baby and began walking home. Smith added he had been dating the woman for two years and they began living together in March.
The fiancee told another officer she and Smith had argued over whether he thought she had been cheating on him when he was out of town. Smith said he wanted to review her phone history. He began throwing things at her. She got the baby and locked herself in the bathroom. Smith kicked in the door and grabbed her phone.
The fiancee was still holding the baby when Smith grabbed her face with his right hand. He pushed her against the wall, covered her mouth and then moved his hand to her neck and squeezed for about three to five seconds. The officer observed red marks under her chin and neck, and bruising and red marks on her left eye brow, according to the affidavit.
While Smith was strangling her, he told her he would kill her with his bare hands if he found she was cheating, and he would burn down the house while she and the baby were inside. He also said the violence was her fault.
He let go of her, and she ran out the door to Albertson's. Smith followed her in a car, got out at the store and then took the baby.
The woman who called police said she saw a woman with a baby, and a man chasing after her and cursing her. The caller said, "'it was the scariest thing she had seen."