Casper Man Denies Aggravated Assault, Kidnapping Charges
A Casper man accused of firing a gun at another man, kidnapping a woman and then attempting to fire the handgun at two Casper police officers entered not guilty pleas Friday morning in Natrona County District Court.
Jessie Joe Contreras, 38, pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated kidnapping, burglary, possession of a deadly weapon with unlawful intent, possession of marijuana as a third or subsequent offense and four counts of aggravated assault. He could face up to life in prison plus sixty years if convicted on all counts.
Contreras was arrested July 17 after Casper police officers responded to a trailer home in the 1200 block of N. Elma St. for a reported weapon offense.
The alleged kidnapping victim later told police that she had been dating Contreras for nearly a year and living with him in his apartment. She said that Contreras used methamphetamine, was often angry and became physically abusive toward her. Around July 13, the victim left Contreras and went to stay at the trailer home on North Elma with an old boyfriend.
On the night of July 16, the victim's three children arrived at the trailer to visit. One of them ended up telling Contreras that the victim was staying in the trailer.
The morning of July 17, Contreras arrived at the trailer with a handgun and entered the trailer home. He first pointed it at the alleged kidnapping victim, then grabbed her and pointed the gun at the owner of the trailer, who had gotten up from bed and wrapped a blanket around himself.
Contreras then said, "watch this," and fired the gun once at the owner of the trailer. That man fell to the floor, and the woman believed he had been shot. However, he was uninjured.
The woman then ran out of the trailer to a nearby apartment building, but Contreras found her immediately and grabbed her by the arm, telling her to go back inside the trailer.
The woman told police that Contreras made her help him load a van, and after about two trips out to the van, police officers arrived and Contreras ran out the back of the trailer.
Officers chased Contreras and found him running south down an alley, still holding the pistol. One officer drew his gun and ordered Contreras to stop and drop the pistol. Contreras then spun to his left, pointing the pistol at two police officers and visibly "flexing his finger between the trigger guard and trigger."
Contreras never took a shooting stance, and ultimately gave himself up.
An evidence technician later examined the gun which Contreras had possessed, and found there was a round in the chamber. However, the rounds in the magazine were tumbled.
In an interview with police following his arrest, Contreras gave multiple versions of the incident. Police collected biological evidence from Contreras.
Contreras remained in custody at the time of Friday's arraignment hearing. His bond had been set at $500,000 cash or surety.
District Judge Thomas Sullins said that Contreras's case was placed on the Dec. 3 trial stack.