Facing Possible Murder Charge, Trial Delayed For Ex-Boyfriend Of Missing Cody Woman

Recognizing that a man who made it home from Alabama to Cody in October with a bloody vehicle — but without his girlfriend, who was accompanying him — may need to summon a hefty defense, a federal judge on Tuesday delayed his trial.

CM
Clair McFarland

December 14, 20233 min read

Katie Ferguson of Cody, right, has been missing since Oct. 10. Her ex-boyfriend Adam Aviles Jr., left, now faces federal charges.
Katie Ferguson of Cody, right, has been missing since Oct. 10. Her ex-boyfriend Adam Aviles Jr., left, now faces federal charges. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Recognizing that a man who made it home from Alabama to Cody, Wyoming, in October with a bloody vehicle — but without his girlfriend, who left with him — may need to summon a hefty defense, a federal judge has delayed his trial.

Adam Aviles Jr., 26, went to Alabama earlier this year to retrieve his on-and-off girlfriend Katie Ferguson and their two young daughters. The family set out together through the South.

Aviles and the little girls made it home to Cody. Ferguson did not.

U.S. District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson, of Wyoming, switched Aviles Jr.’s federal jury trial in Cheyenne from Jan. 22 to April 1, in an order filed Tuesday.

This serves the “ends of justice,” one of the most flexible reasons for which a court can step outside the Constitution’s requirement for a speedy trial.

Homicide Suspect

Johnson’s order comes at the request of Aviles’ attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender David Weiss, and without objection from the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paige Hammer.

Aviles’ scheduled trial is not a homicide trial: it is a trial to determine whether he’s guilty of being a felon in possession of ammunition. The charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Weiss noted in a motion that Aviles is a suspect in a homicide investigation.

Being implicated in a homicide could make it more likely Aviles could face the full 15 years’ maximum sentence if convicted on the ammunition charge.

That’s why Weiss requested more time to receive and review evidence, conduct an independent investigation, interview witnesses and consult experts.

Johnson allowed the request.

“Given the nature of the charges that the Defendant is facing, the Court finds that it is in the best interest of justice to continue the Defendant’s trial,” Johnson wrote.

Aviles pleaded not guilty to the ammunition charge Nov. 21.

Front Seat Also Gone

Investigators later found Aviles’ Dodge Durango abandoned in Park County, Wyoming, on Nov. 4, smelling of putrefied blood and with a bullet hole in the door, an evidentiary affidavit says.

The front passenger seat was missing. There were multiple Clorox wipes inside the vehicle, and a Glock pistol magazine loaded to capacity near the vehicle’s center console, the document alleges.

While law enforcement was processing the Durango, Aviles walked up to them carrying a gas canister. He said he was there to fill the vehicle up because it had run out of gas, says the affidavit.

Aviles was arrested on misdemeanor drug possession charges and held in the Park County Detention Center, until federal authorities leveled the larger, felony-level ammunition charge against him, and took him into federal custody Nov. 10.

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

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter