Rawlins Man With Dementia, 73, Was Trying To Kill Caretakers When He Shot Them

Accused of shooting his caretakers and ramming their truck and semitrailer in a shootout-turned-chase, a 73-year-old Rawlins man with dementia faces two counts of attempted second-degree murder and other felony charges.

Clair McFarland

September 12, 20234 min read

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Accused of shooting his caretakers and ramming their truck and trailer in a shootout-turned-chase, a 73-year-old Rawlins man now faces two counts of attempted second-degree murder and other felony charges. 

Melvin Leon Bagley has dementia and believed his former caretakers were stealing from his bank account, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed last week in his case. 

He faces up to life in prison if he’s convicted on two counts of second-degree attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and misdemeanors of reckless driving and reckless endangering. 

His preliminary hearing is set for Friday in Rawlins Circuit Court. 

First, The Tractor

On Sept. 3, a married couple in their early 60s from Bairoil were loading up a tractor onto a trailer affixed to their dually pickup on their ranchland in rural Carbon County, according to the affidavit, which identifies the wife as SMB and the husband as MB Jr. 

The husband drove, and they trundled back toward Highway 287 on the dirt road. 

The husband’s 73-year-old uncle, Bagley, pulled up in his Ford F-150 dually pickup and parked so that the two trucks’ driver’s-side windows faced each other, the affidavit says.

Bagley accused the pair of stealing his money since gaining power of attorney over his finances. 

The couple said they weren’t stealing his money. They had recently had Bagley living with them out of concern over his dementia, but in June,they moved him to Rawlins at his own request, the affidavit says. 

Bagley had pulled a gun on the couple months earlier when he first moved in with them during a dispute about propane tanks, the wife later told police. 

Shot In The Eyebrow

Bagley withdrew a black handgun and started shooting at the pair, the affidavit says. 

The document says two bullets struck the husband in his right eyebrow, exiting near his ear. Another bullet struck his hand.

One bullet struck the wife in her shoulder and another in her chest. 

The husband grabbed a .22 revolver he kept in their pickup, and he fired back while the wife ducked onto the flooboard and called 911. 

The couple took off in their truck with Bagley following and ramming their trailer and their truck, all while shooting at them, the affidavit says. 

Trying To Kill Them

When Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Timothy Howell encountered the couple’s truck speeding down the road away from Bagley, he noticed the it had “heavy” damage on the driver’s side, and the male driver was waving one bloody arm out the window, the affdiavit says. 

The couple drove south toward a site where emergency medical personnel had arranged to meet them. 

Next, Howell found Bagley’s truck parked on the road shoulder on U.S. Highway 287. Bagley had his hands out the window.

Howell conducted a felony traffic stop, ordering Bagley to get out of the vehicle.

Bagley complied, the affidavit says. 

Howell then arrested Bagley, put him in the cage portion of his patrol vehicle and someone — the affidavit doesn’t say who — delivered Bagley his Miranda warnings. 

Bagley told Howell the victims had been stealing money out of his bank account and he told him to stop. They didn’t stop, Bagley claimed, so he went to confront them. 

They laughed at him, Bagley said and wouldn’t take him seriously. So he shot at them, and tried to kill them, he allegedly told Howell, according to the affidavit.

Howell took Bagley to the Carbon County Jail. 

Helicopter, Hospital

When a firefighter took the husband to the Memorial Hospital of Carbon County, the husband was at first conscious and talking. Then he took a turn for the worse and had to be intubated, and a helicopter took him to the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, says the affidavit. 

The wife was still at the Memorial Hospital of Carbon County. One bullet had entered just above her collarbone and exited through her back. A second bullet went into her chest and exited through her side.

She told Rawlins Police Department Lt. Daria Hooper that they hadn’t heard from Bagley for about a month before this incident. She said he’d been accusing them of stealing money since about May and they started locking their doors after they moved him to Rawlins.  

Bagley’s bond is set at $500,000 cash only. His case is ongoing. 

Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter