Casper Man Admits Assaulting, Strangling, Restraining Woman
A man arrested in May after allegedly assaulting a woman and trying to run from police pleaded guilty to reduced charges Monday morning in Natrona County District Court.
Damon Flanagan, 47, entered guilty pleas to one count each of aggravated assault and battery, strangulation of a household member and felonious restraint.
Those charges were included in an amended information filed with the court on Monday; Flanagan was originally charged with aggravated kidnapping and strangulation of a household member, and could have faced 25 years to life plus five years in prison if convicted on those charges.
In total, Wyoming statute provides for up to 20 years in prison and $30,000 in fines for the three crimes to which Flanagan pleaded guilty.
Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri explained that the plea agreement calls only for three sentences to run concurrently, which means Flanagan could face the maximum penalty on each of the three charges, but would serve those sentences simultaneously.
Charging papers in the case say a man called 911 at about 3:30 p.m. on May 30 and said he saw Flanagan carry a woman into the back of a van in the 1200 block of South Cedar Street.
Casper police officers searched for the van and eventually found it near the Sunrise Shopping Center at about 4:15 p.m. They tried to stop the van, but it continued for some distance before pulling over near the intersection of Grenada and Poplar.
An officer approached the van and saw the victim screaming for help as she banged on the rear window of the van. Before police could get to the vehicle, Flanagan allegedly took off.
He continued northbound for about four blocks before stopping again in the 2800 block of South Poplar.
Police pulled Flanagan out of the van, took him to the ground and arrested him.
According to a police affidavit, the victim later told investigators that she and Flanagan had been fighting throughout the day. She said Flanagan was jealous and constantly accused her of cheating on him; Flanagan, she said got angry that day when she asked another man for a cigarette.
Flanagan then grabbed her and forced her into the van.
The victim told police she thought Flanagan might drive them off a cliff to kill both of them. She believed she was going to die.
She also told police Flanagan had put her in a headlock and strangled her between 10 and 15 times. She said she foamed at the mouth and vomited as a result.
When police pulled up behind the van on Poplar, the victim thought Flanagan would run because, "he always did when the police tried to stop him," according to the affidavit. The victim was relieved to see officers through the rear window as she yelled for help.
Flanagan, in a police interview, said he knew police were following him near the Sunrise Shopping Center, but he didn't want to stop because he knew there were two warrants for his arrest.
Flanagan remains in custody on $50,000 cash or surety bond pending sentencing.