After withdrawing his claim that he was too mentally ill to be held responsible for his conduct, a Gillette man accused of trying to kidnap a woman from a Walmart store is now scheduled for a jury trial.
Alex Sigvaldsen, 27, faces one felony charge of kidnapping, and misdemeanors of unlawful contact, theft, interference with police and drug use for allegedly trying to force a woman out of a Walmart store and into his home to spend the day with him May 19, then causing a drugged public disturbance before police arrested him.
Set for a Feb. 5, 2024, jury trial, Sigvaldsen could spend up to 22.5 years in prison if convicted.
Campbell County District Court Judge James Causey in June ordered the Wyoming State Hospital to evaluate Sigvaldsen to see if he was so mentally ill at the time of the alleged offenses that he couldn’t be held criminally responsible.
The results of that evaluation are not public; however, it appears Sigvaldsen didn’t rise to that level of mental illness. He asked Causey on Oct. 12 to let him withdraw his plea of “not guilty by reason of mental illness.”
Causey agreed, ordering the insanity plea withdrawn six days later.
The judge then filed an Oct. 25 case management order setting Sigvaldsen’s trial, and writing that no plea agreements will be allowed after Dec. 26.
Sigvaldsen’s case started at about 6 a.m. May 19, when a woman shopped the towel aisle alone in Gillette’s Walmart store.
She’d slept in her car the night before and was headed to Buffalo to work on a ranch, according to the evidentiary affidavit filed in the case.
A man in his mid to late 20s, standing about 5-foot-9, with very short hair, facial hair stubble, a slim build, a hooded shirt and slow speech approached her, saying, “I need to tell you something.”
“What?” asked the woman.
The man, later identified as Sigvaldsen, told the woman she was going home with him, or else his friends with “automatic weapons would come inside and shoot up the place,” the woman later recounted to police.
She asked if he was serious.
He held out his phone with his finger on the screen, which the woman believed was a threat to send the message summoning gunmen into the store, the affidavit says.
“Please, not me,” she said.
“You’re going to live; I’ll let you go at the end of the day,” Sigvaldsen said, according to the affidavit.
The woman said she needed to pay for her merchandise. As the pair turned out of the towel aisle, the woman mouthed “help me” to another female, who appeared not to notice.
She walked slowly toward the register as Sigvaldsen told her repeatedly to act normal and that they were a couple, the affidavit alleges.
He reportedly kept his hand on her lower back as she paid for her things.
They left the building and walked toward the woman’s silver Toyota Corolla. She asked if she could pay Sigvaldsen instead of going with him.
He said yes. She asked how much.
“What?” he asked, then pulled her close and kissed her on the lips for about one second, the affidavit says.
Key Fob To The Rescue
She started putting her bags in the back passenger side of her car, with him standing near her. She returned the cart to the cart rack, thinking she could drive off, the affidavit says, but he was right there beside her.
He told her to get into the driver’s seat.
“I’m driving?” she asked.
“Yeah, how else would we get to my house?” the man said, according to the affidavit.
From this the woman gathered that he didn’t have a car there and had walked to the Walmart.
She hit the unlock button on her key fob just one time, hoping it would only unlock the driver’s side door.
She got into the driver’s seat and sped off, driving directly to the Gillette Police Department.
When police reviewed Walmart surveillance footage, they reportedly saw the man struggling to get into the passenger side door.
Police later caught up to Sigvaldsen after schoolteachers reported seeing him outside a school, and he reportedly had a stolen hoodie and admitted he was “high” at that time.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.