Natrona County Man Pleads Guilty to Ten Charges Including Strangulation, Assault, Child Endangerment
A man accused of repeatedly assaulting his wife and before threatening to kill her and kidnapping her entered guilty pleas to nine felony and misdemeanor charges in three separate criminal cases against him Tuesday morning in Natrona County District Court.
Clay Barnabas Boatman, 29, pleaded guilty to six felony charges: two counts of strangulation of a household member, two counts of aggravated assault and battery and two counts of child endangerment with methamphetamine.
He also admitted to committing misdemeanor crimes of child endangerment and two counts of domestic battery.
In addition, Boatman entered what's known as an Alford plea to one felony count of kidnapping. By entering an Alford plea, Boatman essentially asserted his innocence but admitted the prosecution has evidence which would lead to his conviction. For the purpose of sentencing, however, the plea is functionally the same as a guilty plea.
Boatman could be sentenced to 20 years to life plus 42 years behind bars as well as over $60,000 in fines. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
In exchange for his guilty pleas, the state agreed to dismiss three additional misdemeanor domestic battery charges. Beyond that, Assistant District Attorney Brett Johnson did not specify whether the plea agreement included limitations as to what sentencing recommendations will be made by the defense and prosecution.
Court documents say police officers first made contact with the victim on Aug. 2 after an assault was reported to authorities. The victim said Boatman had assaulted several times in the days prior, and things had been progressively getting more violent over the previous two months.
She said the violence escalated July 30 when she urged Boatman to quit using methamphetamine. Boatman reportedly accused her of being a police officer and punched her several times before threatening to kill her and telling her to “say goodbye” to their children, according to an affidavit.
Early on the morning of Aug. 2, the victim was holding a child when Boatman choked her from behind, causing the victim to fall to the bathroom floor and hit her head on the bathtub. Boatman apologized, but then suddenly “flipped out” and hit her across the back with a candle in a glass casing and a wrench.
That night, Boatman became paranoid when he discovered his phone had been deactivated and again accused the victim of trying to set him up. She tried to run out the door with a child in her arms when, again, Boatman began to choke her. He then threw her down the hall, and the victim hit her head on a metal ladder.
The victim was taken to Wyoming Medical Center for treatment.
Then on Aug. 10, police received an anonymous tip that Boatman was at an address in the 4000 block of Highway Street in Mills. The caller reported a dead dog had been in the yard for several days.
Officers knocked on the front door and got no response. They were able to confirm Boatman was wanted on an active felony warrant and that he was inside the home before going in through the unlocked front door.
Once inside, police found two unattended 1-year-old children in car seats on the bed. It seemed like Boatman had taken off in a hurry.
The dead dog was removed from the dog house. Officers saw the dog had no food or water bowls nearby. Another dog was in poor condition; extremely emaciated with an open wound on its back. Metro Animal Control took the dog. A third dog, which appeared to be in much better condition, was left with the victim.
An agent with the Wyoming Department of Family Services established a safety plan for the two children found inside the home.
But on Sept. 2, that agent reported hair follicle tests from each of the children had come back as positive for methamphetamine. Court documents say in order for the levels of methamphetamine in each child to have been as high as they were, the children would somehow have had to ingest the methamphetamine.
As a result, Boatman was charged with two counts of felony child endangerment with methamphetamine.
On the afternoon of Nov. 9, DFS workers requested law enforcement assistance in conducting a welfare check after the victim was found following an assault by Boatman. She had extensive injuries.
The two had been arguing when Boatman started hitting her and eventually knocked her to the ground, she told police. He continued to hit and kick her as she lay there, yelling for him to stop. Boatman kicked her in her ribs and her head.
Eventually, Boatman told her to go into the bathroom and soak her face. The victim got into the bathtub and, as she was waiting for it to fill, Boatman began hitting her again. She thought he would kill her, later telling police she was just waiting “for him to drown me or something.”
Boatman ended up leaving the house. After speaking with police, the victim was taken to Wyoming Medical Center for treatment.
Boatman was nowhere to be found.
Later that same night, an officer went to the Hat Six Travel Center after the victim called 911 and said Boatman wanted to kill her.
Court documents say Boatman picked the victim up from Wyoming Medical Center at about 7:45 p.m. She went with him because Boatman reportedly threatened to kill her younger brother if she refused.
When Boatman pulled into a parking lot, the victim told him she wasn’t going anywhere with him. She got out of the truck, but Boatman “pinned” her by the truck. She screamed the entire time, “hoping someone would hear.” Boatman grabbed her by hear hair and throat, forcing her back into the truck.
Boatman continued to beat the victim as they drove, threatening to kill her if she left.
Eventually, the victim was able to jump out of the moving truck. She suffered road rash, but got up and ran. She climbed a fence before spotting a commercial truck and running for it.
The victim jumped onto the side-step and told the driver she needed help. The driver stayed with her until police arrived.
Boatman evidently called police dispatch from Hat Six Travel Center. He was told to wait for police to show up, which he did. He was arrested.