Fremont County Man Allegedly Strangles Fiancée For Serving Leftovers Instead Of Steak

A Fremont County, Wyoming, man grew "frustrated" when his fiancée warmed up leftovers instead of letting him cook elk steak, then allegedly strangled and smashed her into a wall, court documents claim. 

Clair McFarland

May 22, 20236 min read

Samuel Don Carpenter
Samuel Don Carpenter (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A Fremont County man accused of strangling his fiancée after she fixed a dinner he didn’t like now faces charges in a felony-level court.  

The Lander Circuit Court has transferred Samuel Don Carpenter’s case to the Fremont County District Court for felony-level prosecution.

He’s charged with one count of strangulation of a household member, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He also faces up to a year in jail, plus another six months if convicted of reckless endangering and domestic battery, both misdemeanors.  

Leftovers, Not Elk Steak 

The charges stem from about two hours after midnight April 16, when Fremont County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jared Mowrey responded to a domestic abuse call in Atlantic City, a tiny town about 30 miles south of Lander, Wyoming.  

A woman called the sheriff’s office to say her boyfriend of seven years, whom she’d planned to marry in May, had been verbally and physically abusive all night.  

Mowrey met the woman on the highway. She was “very upset,” according to an evidentiary affidavit in the case. She had blood on her lip and a bump swelling on her forehead.  

She told Mowrey she’d heated some leftovers for the couple’s little girls — a toddler and a preschooler — at about 8 p.m. because it was getting too late to cook a meal and the girls were falling asleep.  

Carpenter became frustrated because he wanted to cook elk steaks for the family, the affidavit alleges.  

The woman put the girls to bed and stayed in the room with them, while Carpenter went to the couple’s bedroom.  

Carpenter decided to leave the house. He went looking for his keys and his dog. But he couldn’t find his dog, so he came into the children’s room and accused his fiancée of locking his dog in a room so he couldn’t find it, the affidavit says.  

Then he left.  

Children’s Room 

Carpenter came back to the house after a while, then he came into the girls’ room and demanded to reopen the earlier argument with his fiancée, the affidavit says.  

She believed he had been out to the bar in Atlantic City, and she later told Mowrey that Carpenter was drunk during this confrontation.  

At some point the woman stood in the doorway of the couple’s bedroom and as she flicked off the light, she felt Carpenter smack her on the left cheek with what felt like the back of his hand, bending her glasses, the affidavit alleges.  

She went to the girls’ room, locked the door and laid down in bed with her daughter. There was banging noise outside the room, the affidavit says.  

This Mess 

The argument started again.  

Carpenter told her she always hides behind the kids, but that she’s not going to take the kids away from him. He said he could kill her and that she’s a coward, but he wouldn’t let her take “the easy way out,” the affidavit alleges.  

This kind of talk continued until he allegedly shoved his hand against her chest, pressing her into the preschooler’s bed. 

The woman got up and went upstairs. She was thinking of what to do, she later told Fremont County Sheriff’s Detective Levi Hallock. She decided to go to bed in the couple’s room, but when she got there she found the mattress thrown against the wall.  

She asked Carpenter to help her get the mattress and bed put together so she could go to sleep.  

On The Floor 

Carpenter grabbed her by the shoulders from behind and bashed the right side of her head into the bedroom wall, making a hole in the drywall, the affidavit alleges.  

Then he threw himself back and claimed she was getting physical with him.  

He threw her face-first to the floor, got on top of her, sat on her lower back and squeezed her upper arms against her body with his knees, the affidavit claims. He reached around to the front of her throat and choked her with both hands for about a minute, the woman told Hallock. She said she struggled to breathe but that she didn’t pass out. She couldn’t move, she said, because he stayed on top of her. 

Deputies later discovered bruises on the woman’s arms; redness, bruising and swelling on her neck; a bump on her head; and bruises on both cheeks. 

At first she refused medical care but later went to the hospital when her neck was still hurting.  

Let Go 

One of the little girls started crying and Carpenter let go of his fiancée’s neck, the affidavit says.  

She got up off the floor and went in to get the girls, but he started yelling that she was not going to take the girls. The affidavit also says he yelled at their preschooler to get back in bed.  

The woman found her cellphone — which he’d reportedly thrown against the wall earlier that night — and she called 911.  

Different Side Of The Story 

Mowrey and another deputy went to Carpenter’s house that night after meeting the woman on the highway.  

Carpenter answered the door in his boxers.  

Mowrey didn’t see any injuries on Carpenter indicating he’d been attacked, the affidavit says.  

He told the deputies he got into an argument with his fiancée, then he left for work. When he got back home he went to lie down with his children, he said, but she started arguing with him again.  

Mowrey saw a hole in the wall of Carpenter’s bedroom and asked how it got there.  

Carpenter said he “pushed” the woman, causing the hole.  

Deputies arrested Carpenter on suspicion of domestic battery and took him to the Fremont County Detention Center without incident.

Reach Clair McFarland at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter