Man Accused Of Riverton Library Beating Says He Was Avenging Rape

A pair of Riverton brothers accused of brutally beating a man with a board outside the local library pleaded not guilty in the attack, which one brother reportedly told police was retaliation for an alleged rape of a family member.

CM
Clair McFarland

January 30, 20244 min read

Riverton Branch Library 1 29 24

Accused of beating their acquaintances with wood planks at the Riverton Branch Library, two brothers from Lander could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. 

Kenneth Willow, 24, and Aaron Willow, 22, each face two counts of aggravated assault, punishable by up to 10 years in prison each, and one count of battery, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and $750 in fines. 

When questioned, Kenneth reportedly told police he beat the victim with a board because he believed the man had sexually assaulted one of his, Kenneth’s, family members. 

Both brothers pleaded not guilty in the Fremont County District Court earlier this month and are set to face trial May 20. 

The charges stem from Oct. 30, when Riverton Police Department Sgt. Randy Foos responded to a report of a beat-down at the Riverton Branch Library. 

Foos originally heard that two men were beating other men with sticks. Witness testimony and surveillance would reveal the beating weapon was originally a long board of lumber that broke in half during the beating and became two weapons, according to the evidentiary affidavit in the case. 

A whole group of people hung out at the library that day and leaned against its outer brick wall. 

One of those, a 27-year-old man, became the target of the alleged beating. 

Foos found the victim bleeding from his face and neck, with blood matting his hair and a cut on the right side of his head. 

The man said that two males approached him and the group, and the two males got rowdy. He identified one of them as Kenneth Willow, but didn’t know who the other was, the affidavit says. 

He described being beaten to the ground then kicked once he was down. Another man in the group, a 39-year-old, flung himself onto the victim to block the beatings but ended up getting whacked with the boards himself, says the affidavit. 

What The Cameras Saw

Video surveillance allegedly shows Kenneth and Aaron approaching the group, then Aaron leaving for a short while to grab a board. 

The victim stood up and put his hands up in a defensive gesture. Then Kenneth struck him in the head, pulled him away from the building and slapped him repeatedly, the affidavit alleges. 

Aaron also attacked, the document says. 

It relates video camera footage showing Aaron and Kenneth stomping the victim’s head multiple times, taking turns. 

Kenneth raised the board above his own head and slammed it down on the victim’s upper body, says the affidavit. 

That was when another man flung himself over the victim in a gesture of protection, and Kenneth and Aaron responded by beating and kicking that man, says the affidavit.

The victim’s blood pooled on the ground under him, reportedly. 

Found The Board

Police arrested Kenneth on a warrant stemming from a separate incident. RPD Detective Kingston Cole went to the jail to question Kenneth on Nov. 9, and confronted Kenneth with a still frame of the library video footage. 

Kenneth said the man who tried to rescue the victim was his own uncle, the affidavit says. 

He said he and his brother waged the attack to avenge a family member whom they believed the victim sexually assaulted. 

Cole asked what became of the board. 

Kenneth said someone threw it in the yard of a nearby residence.

Cole went to that home later that day and found a 4-foot section of board and a couple long splinters, the affidavit says. 

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

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter