Court In Niobrara County, Wyoming, Goes Almost A Year With No Felonies

The Niobrara County District Court hadn't had a local felony criminal charge since early November — until Tuesday, when the case of a Lusk woman accused of beating and choking another woman hit the docket.

Clair McFarland

August 31, 20234 min read

Niobrara County Courthouse 8 31 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Niobrara County was closing in on a whole year without a felony in its courts system. Its last district court crime filing was in early November 2022.  

But the nine-and-a-half month peaceful streak ended Tuesday, when the case of a Lusk woman accused of assaulting another woman ascended from the circuit court to the felony-level Niobrara County District Court.  

Paris A. Spaulding, who is 36 this year, faces one count of aggravated assault for allegedly beating and choking another woman until she passed out. The charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  

Because, The Argument 

Lusk Police Department Officer Jay Owren went to the hospital at about 8:50 p.m. July 29 to visit a woman who said she’d been assaulted and wanted to file a police report.  

The woman was receiving treatment in the emergency room that Saturday night.  

She told Owren that two-and-a-half hours earlier, Travis Echelmeier and Paris Spaulding came to her apartment and the three got into a verbal fight about the woman’s work schedule at a Lusk restaurant.  

Spaulding then pulled the woman’s hair, the woman told the officer, and tried to hit her in the hallway outside of her apartment.  

Echelmeier stopped Spaulding from hitting the woman and the pair left the apartment complex, the affidavit says.  

But they came back an hour later and allegedly started sending threatening text messages to the woman saying they were outside.  

The woman told them to leave her alone, and she gathered her two young children hoping to get to a friend’s house. She and her kids went to her car, but the woman noticed Spaulding and Echelmeier out in the lot, the affidavit says.  

Spaulding got out of Echelmeier’s truck and started punching the woman in the face, the affidavit claims, then slammed the woman into four cars, choked her, threw her to the ground and kept hitting her face.            

The woman lost consciousness, she later told the officer. She regained consciousness as Spaulding got back into Echelmeier’s truck.  

Dripping Blood 

Owren noticed blood running from the top of the woman’s head during their interview. Her left eye was bruised and swollen, her right eye was also bruised. Her neck, wrists, legs and ankles bore red marks, the officer noticed.  

He shot photographs of her injuries and later learned her left eye socket was fractured; she had a concussion and contusions to her scalp and ribs.  

The Other Woman 

Owren got Officer Jeremiah Fink to join him for an interview with Spaulding.  

Spaulding reportedly told the officers that she and Echelmeier went to the woman’s apartment and got into an argument with her.  

The woman grabbed Spaulding by the hair, Spaulding said, and punched her in the right front chest area, so Spaulding grabbed the woman by the hair to pull her away from herself.  

Spaulding said she went to the liquor store, but later stopped to talk to the woman in the parking lot.  

Spaulding claimed the woman attacked her there by grabbing her hair. This time Spaulding hit the woman with the door, Spaulding told police. 

Owren noticed Spaulding smelled of alcohol.  

“No visible bruising could be observed on the right side of her chest area,” Owren later wrote.  

Officers arrested Spaulding and took her to the Niobrara County Detention Center.  

The case is ongoing.

Note: This story has been altered to remove the alleged victim’s name.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter