When Campbell County Sheriff’s Office deputies caught up to a man suspected of strangling his wife, bashing her head against a nightstand and throwing her over a recliner last month, the man asked if he could finish his café breakfast before heading to jail.
A deputy allowed Peter Reno, 50, to finish his breakfast the morning of April 3, but then took him to the Campbell County Detention Center.
Reno is set to give a plea in Campbell County District Court on May 22. If convicted on all four strangulation charges and two misdemeanor domestic battery charges, he could face up to 42 years in prison and more than $40,000 in fines.
Court personnel filed Reno’s case in the felony-level District Court on Monday.
‘How Do You Like It?’
Campbell County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Lang responded to a home in Wright, Wyoming, in response to a 6 a.m. domestic abuse call April 3, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
Reno’s wife was at the house, bruised and in pain. She said Reno wanted to leave the house that morning between 5 and 6 a.m., but she’d hidden his truck keys because she believed he was too intoxicated to drive, the affidavit says.
She told police that Reno got on top of her and choked her by overlapping his thumbs and squeezing her neck, then he grabbed her head and slammed it against the nightstand next to their bed four or five times.
In a follow-up interview, she remembered hearing him ask her again and again how she liked to be “choked out” and how it felt, the affidavit says.
“What about my son?” she remembered thinking as she lost her breath under Reno’s hands, according to the affidavit. She couldn’t breathe and saw spots.
Reno smothered her neck with his jacket, the woman said, as she yelled for him to stop.
“How do you like being hit? How do you like being choked out?” he asked, according to the affidavit.
When he lifted himself off her body she went to the kitchen to get his truck keys out of her purse.
As she fumbled in her purse, she felt his coat wrap around her neck again, then he threw her over the recliner headfirst, the document alleges. She felt her feet hit the couch as her back hit the floor, the woman remembered.
Then Reno straddled her again, the affidavit alleges, and smothered her.
Lang noted a large discolored lump under the woman’s left eye on her cheekbone and a red continuous mark around her neck and throat.
Another deputy in a follow-up interview noticed a scrape on the woman’s shoulder, bruising on the back of her neck; petechia – which are small, red blood spots under the skin – on her ear, nose and eyelids. She said she couldn’t move her neck and had a sore throat, says the affidavit.
Not Quite Newlyweds
The pair had been married since Oct. 30, 2022, the woman told deputies.
The woman said Reno shoved her about a month earlier at the ranch. Before they were married, she said, he wrapped a towel around her neck and threw her on the bed while strangling her.
Lang asked the woman if Reno was likely to shoot at deputies when they caught up to him.
She suspected he was at a favorite bar and grill or at “the ranch,” and said there were lots of guns at the ranch, and Reno may be wanting to fight deputies.
Deputies didn’t find Reno at the ranch. Lang called Reno’s phone and didn’t reach him.
But Reno later called back at about 8:30 that morning.
Lang said he wanted to hear Reno’s side of the story.
Reno said he never hit his wife.
“All he wanted to do was find his pickup keys so he could leave, that way nobody got hurt,” the affidavit relates from Reno’s statement.
Lang asked how Reno’s wife got her injuries.
Reno said she was probably injured during a fall to the floor, her frequent toothaches could explain her facial swelling, and the marks on her neck could be from his jacket slipping up to her neck when he used it to keep her away from him, the affidavit says.
She “is also dramatic and makes things up,” Reno said, according to the affidavit.
Meanwhile, Lang had arranged to meet Reno at a gas station at 9 that morning.
Half an hour later, Reno didn’t show, so Lang and Deputy Ryan Kellison set out to find him. They found his Ford at the bar and grill Reno’s wife had mentioned earlier as a likely haunt.
The waitress told deputies where to find Reno, alone in a booth drinking coffee.
Lang sat down at the booth and introduced himself.
Reno asked if he could eat his breakfast, since he’d just ordered, the affidavit says.
Lang said he could.
Over coffee, Reno told deputies he’d never strike a woman because there’s no honor in fighting a woman, the affidavit relates.
Lang countered that the woman’s injuries matched her story.
That was “nonsense,” Reno answered. He just wanted to leave the house, says the document.
Lang and Kellison led Reno to Lang’s patrol car, handcuffed him, put him in the backseat cage and took him to the Campbell County Detention Center without incident.