A man from Arapahoe, Wyoming, now faces a second-degree murder charge in the felony-level Natrona County District Court for allegedly killing a Casper man with three knife strokes to his neck and torso.
Stacy Roberts Medicinetop, 36, had been out of prison for about a week when he allegedly killed Daniel Swope, 48, in Swope’s apartment in Casper, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed in the case.
The investigation started May 2, when the man who lives in the apartment above Swope’s found blood pooling in the downstairs exit stairway.
The upstairs tenant, Daniel Helfrick, reported that the stairwell leading to the shared back exit had blood pooling in it.
Helfrick hadn’t used that exit for a while because he mainly uses it to access the backyard grill, says the affidavit.
Officers arrived and followed the blood into the lower-level apartment.
The door was “mostly closed” but not latched, the document says, and officers found a dead man in the apartment hallway lying facedown in a pool of dried blood. In the blood there were footprints showing a circle and a geometric pattern, and the word “Adidas,” the affidavit alleges.
Swope’s shoes didn’t match the footprints, which led away from the body.
The Natrona County Coroner and Deputy Coroner later responded and determined that Swope had three knife wounds to his torso and neck.
Helfrick told police that either Thursday or Friday evening, April 27 or 28, he heard Swope yell “no, no.” Then he saw a man exit from the houses wearing all black, carrying a black book-bag style backpack.
The man stopped and went back to the back walkway, Helfrick recalled, then a few seconds later came back out, got in Swope’s gold Jeep and drove away.
Helfrick didn’t think the man was Swope’s usual roommate; he looked younger and had shorter hair, and wispy facial hair, Helfrick recalled.
Police got a search warrant for the apartment and did a records check on Swope. They found that Swope was involved in an Aug. 28, 2022, disturbance at the Natrona County Public Library with another man, Ronald Benally, 52.
Police had arrested Benally on April 29 for public intoxication, says the affidavit. So they took Benally to the police department for an interview.
Benally said he’d been staying with Swope at Swope’s home and had known the man for about a year and a half, the affidavit relates. Benally remembered seeing Swope the morning of April 28, around 3 or 4 a.m.
Benally said there was a Native American or Hispanic male with sleeve tattoos lying on the couch or on the living room floor at that time.
During the search of the apartment, investigators found a Wyoming Department of Corrections shirt featuring the name “Medicinetop” and a prison identification number.
The Department of Corrections told police that shirt had belonged to Stacy Medicinetop, and that the prison had discharged Medicinetop on April 22.
Investigators contacted another man with whom Medicinetop had been staying, Monte Henrie. Henrie said Medicinetop had been staying there, but had been gone for about a week. Henrie had taken Medicinetop to the westside Walmart in Casper the day the prison released Medicinetop, he remembered.
Medicinetop bought a celllphone.
Police rounded up Walmart surveillance of Medicinetop and the receipt from the sale.
Meanwhile, the Department of Corrections gave investigators an inventory list of the items that left prison with Medicinetop. Among those were size 10.5 Adidas hoops 3.0 Mid basketball shoes.
The shoe’s tread in an online market photo matched the treads found in Swope’s dried blood, the affidavit alleges.
Police also gathered footage of Medicinetop and Swope going to Stinkers together in Swope’s Jeep.
They provided to Benally a “six-pack” or package of six anonymous photos of people who look similar to Medicinetop, and asked Benally to find the man who’d been sleeping in Swope’s apartment.
Benally picked out Medicinetop from the photo lineup, says the affidavit.
The Towers Tracking Him
Investigators applied for tracking information from Verizon, and they reviewed surveillance footage following Medicinetop’s alleged journey from Swope’s apartment to the edge of Casper the day of Swope’s death.
The Verizon data placed Medicinetop in Swope’s apartment in roughly the moments before Helfrick claimed he saw Medicinetop leave. It put Medicinetop at the same gas station where surveillance footage captured Swope’s gold Jeep, at the same time, the affidavit alleges. Both data sets showed Medicinetop near another gas station leaving town toward Riverton.
Ditch This Jeep
A confidential source told police that Medicinetop went to the Wind River Indian Reservation and ditched Swope’s Jeep.
Police gathered banking data for Medicinetop’s phone from Green Dot Bank and CashApp, says the affidavit. The data said Medicinetop was in the Riverton area after leaving Casper.
The confidential source said Medicinetop was in Riverton through about May 31, the document says.
Ultimately, law enforcement agents found Medicinetop working in Vermont. They reported that Medicinetop had been living in Enosburg Falls, Vermont, for about two months before his July 20 arrest.
Medicinetop had been in prison for a felony property destruction charge for headbutting a cop car.
Fremont County District Court Judge Jason Conder sentenced Medicinetop in 2021 to a probation term, with the threat of an 18- to 36-month prison sentence if Medicinetop failed probation.
Medicinetop failed probation.
Conder revoked Medicinetop’s probation May 9, 2022, sending him to prison with credit for 144 days of time served during his prosecution.
The original affidavit in that case said that a Riverton Police Department officer pulled Medicinetop over Dec. 28, 2020, while Medicinetop drove a van containing four adults and one unrestrained 2-year-old.
The officer smelled marijuana and asked everyone to get out of the van. As Medicinetop got out, the officer heard glass hitting the ground, and police discovered it was a glass pipe, says the affidavit.
They found a clear plastic baggie with methamphetamine in it under the front passenger seat and green marijuana residue caked in the cup holder.
They arrested Medicinetop, but during the arrest, Medicinetop cursed and head-butted the police officer’s car, the affidavit says. The officer “back-tripped” Medicinetop, making him fall face-first to the ground.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.