By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Wyoming man is facing 25 years in prison for allegedly assaulting an elderly man and stealing his van on the day before Thanksgiving.
Shane Duane Blackburn, 33, faces 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for carjacking, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in December.
According to court documents, an elderly man, identified as G.J., went to Hines General Store in Fort Washakie on Nov. 24 to pick up supplies for Thanksgiving.
When he left the store, he saw Blackburn asking for a ride. Since it was cold and the day before Thanksgiving, G.J. agreed to give Blackburn a ride in his 2014 Toyota Sienna minivan.
The victim said they had not been driving long when Blackburn got a “mean look” on his face, reached into the back seat and began throwing things around.
G.J. told Blackburn to “knock it off” and then lied to the man, saying he had a weapon under his seat and saying he would use it if Blackburn did not stop throwing things. This did not help, as Blackburn “looked even more terrible and mean,” the documents said.
As the victim continued driving, Blackburn “lunged” at him, pinning him between the seat and car door. He then started to “beat the hell” out of the victim.
Fearful they would crash into oncoming traffic and unable to defend himself while struggling to keep the vehicle under control, the victim pulled over and stopped the car.
Before G.J. could get the keys out of the ignition, Blackburn opened the driver door and pushed the victim to the ground. Blackburn followed, landing on top of the victim.
While on top of G.J., Blackburn continued to hit the man. In attempt to get up, the victim rolled onto his stomach, but Blackburn repeatedly slammed the man’s head into the gravel.
A woman was driving north on U.S. Highway 287 when she witnessed the assault. She pulled over in attempt to help, and Blackburn got into G.J.’s car and drove away, heading south.
Blackburn was later arrested in the parking lot of the Shoshone Rose Hotel and Casino by Wind River police. Before booking him into jail, the officer drove Blackburn to the area where G.J. was waiting for emergency medical services.
The man identified Blackburn as his attacker and the man who stole his van.
Blackburn was interviewed on Nov. 30 and said he had taken methamphetamine for the first time on Nov. 24, and was “freaking out” that morning. He recalled asking for a ride at the general store until someone finally offered him one, but Blackburn could not remember what the man looked like or what he drove.
Blackburn said he did not recall being violent with the van’s owner.